Friday 4 September 2009

Pigeon amongst the cats

Now this should be interesting...


UK Electronic Cigarette company are today launching a scheme which will see 10p of every product sold being donated to Cancer Research UK.

Owner Michael Kitt stated, “We sell a lot of electronic cigarettes all over the world and feel that it is only right that we also support a charity which has the same vision as us – creating a smoke free environment around the world by offering clean smoking without tobacco, tar and the thousands of other chemicals found in traditional cigarettes.”

What to make of this? As a commentator over at Smoking 2.0 says:

Are they mad?

Anti-tobacco want e-cigs outlawed too.

CRUK receive money from pharma companies who are in direct competition with e-cigs.

Anti-tobacco certainly want e-cigarettes banned in the US, and have already succeeded in Australia, but what is the situation in the UK? One of ASH's stated objectives is "harm reduction", of which they say:

One way of reducing the harm caused by tobacco may be to facilitate the switch from smoked tobacco products to the use of ‘clean’, non-tobacco, nicotine products.

For years, ASH have officially supported the legalisation of snus, saying (in 2004) "there is no logic to the banning of snus, when cigarettes, which are far more deadly, are on general sale".

ASH director, Deborah Arnott, said in 2006:

"We currently have a situation where the safest form of smokeless tobacco in the EU is banned, and that's the form on sale in Sweden [snus]."

More recently, she claimed that:

"ASH is not fundamentalist about nicotine.''

This year, ASH's Martin Dockrell reiterated the point that nicotine itself is not harmful:

"Think of cigarettes as the dirty syringe of nicotine addiction. If you could get heroin that didn't cause any harm, what would be the problem? If you could nicotine that didn't harm people's health, what would be the problem?

I think we would like to see faster, stronger nicotine delivery systems available to smokers."

The truth is that ASH (UK) have never been "fundamentalist" about nicotine. They were set up in 1971 with a mission to reduce harm and although it is one of their most low-key campaigns, they do want to see the EU ban on snus overturned. With their objective of tobacco harm reduction, it is difficult to see how they can oppose the e-cigarette which is, undoubtedly, a "faster, stronger nicotine delivery system".

ASH (UK) have not, so far, demanded a ban on e-cigarettes (unlike their American namesakes). Since ASH receives substantial funding from Cancer Research, these new donations from the e-cigarette industry should ensure that things stay that way. Or will pressure from American fundamentalists and Big Pharma prevail?


Captain Ranty said...

Lovely post!

I have linked to you. I think we both want the same thing: freedom.

In any case, I have a dig at the anti-smoking loonies myself from time to time.

Good luck with this brilliant new blog!


proglodyte said...

Their knickers are getting well and truly twisted.
With any luck, this'll cut off the blood supply to their brains.....