By Kerrod Gream
The recent ban of LA City to ban e-cigarettes in all public places where cigarettes are currently banned just goes to show that the critics calling for the ban of tobacco products don’t care about health outcomes, but rather controlling and curbing behaviour they don’t agree with.
If the critics of adults making their own life decisions really wanted to help people quit smoking they’d encourage the use of e-cigarettes, not just other methods of quitting. E-cigarettes have the advantage over patches and gum as they offer a similar delivery system of nicotine as cigarettes, without the health risks that come with smoking.
In Australia we’re in a hard place with e-cigarettes. They’re available for purchase, and so is e-cigarette liquid that does not contain nicotine. But it’s impossible to legally acquire e-cigarette liquid with nicotine within Australia’s borders. It is however legal to import the liquid for personal use.
It is perfectly legal to ‘smoke’ e-cigarettes anywhere in public as long as an establishment doesn’t have a personal ban on it, at this stage. But despite their effectiveness in helping reduce the instances of smoking, with a BMC health trial reporting as high as a 50% success rate in quitting, with a more complete study that was published in The Lancet reporting that e-cigarettes had a 7.3% success rate in quitting, compared to 5.8% who had used patches and 4.1% that used placebo cigarettes containing no nicotine. We need to embrace e-cigarettes and encourage smokers to use them as a quitting device rather than advocating against their use, especially as they’re comparable to patches in terms of effectiveness for quitting.
But those that claim to care about reducing instances of lung cancer and those that want people to quit smoking are the biggest opponents against the potentially therapeutic devices(which are currently unable to be advertised as therapeutic devices due to the Therapeutic Good Administration in Australia not allowing them to be classed as therapeutic.) With the Cancer Council in WA pushing hard against their sale in Australia, luckily losing a test case in WA late last year in an attempt to charge a business in WA for selling them due to them looking like an actual cigarette. But rather than letting it go they’re going over the courts’ head and pushing for a governmental ban on their sale within Australia.
The Cancer Council of Tasmania is also telling people not to use them as they’re not considered safe. And Quit Victoria, states on their website: “The sale, possession, and use of nicotine in the form of an e-cigarette in Victoria is against the law. There is a lack of evidence that e-cigarettes are safe to use, or that they help people to quit smoking.” But a study by Drexel University School of Public Health, funded by Consumer Advocates for Smoke Free Alternatives Association found that with generally acceptable usage levels, there were no health dangers posed by an e-cigarette’s vapours. An FDA study however did find that e-cigarettes did contain trace numbers of hazardous materials. Kiklas, who produce a brand of e-cigs not included in the study, did however note that there were only 9 contaminates found in e-cigarettes, compared to the 11,000 contained in actual cigarettes. It should also be noted that the same chemicals that the FDA warns about in e-cigarettes are contained in other forms of nicotine replacement therapy that they endorse(such as patches).
These moves spreading fear about the practice of vaping is worrying as it is just encouragement of more big government controls over citizens that take risks upon themselves. They’re actively endorsing other forms of quit therapies, while advocating against another that is comparable, if not better for quitting than patches. It’s nothing more than nanny state style moves to stop people doing things they deem to be undesirable for the simple reason that it looks like the person is smoking. But, at least at the moment it’s being left up to property owners to decide whether or not to allow vaping on their property. But there may be laws put in by governments around the world banning it on planes, despite that at the moment it’s being left up to carriers.
As individuals we should be encouraging the decision for people to make these choices, whether they harm themselves or not. The public health risk that is argued by the anti-smoker groups doesn’t apply to e-cigarettes because there isn’t the same risk as cigarettes to the surrounding people.
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