Friday 9 January 2015

The prohibitionist's dilemma

There's a very revealing quote from the 'policy and advocacy director' (ie. chief lobbyist) at Queensland's Cancer Council in this story that Dick Puddlecote picked up. He's talking about e-cigarettes:

"This was a problem we didn't have a number of years ago. It's a real frustration for those of us working in public health because it wasn't even on the horizon a number of years back.
"It's something we're just better off without."

This tells you a lot about the mentality of the anti-smoking crusade. Consider the following scenario.

You are deeply concerned about the effect of smoking on health. You've spent your whole career trying to help people give up smoking. You dream of a 'smoke-free world'.

But it's a struggle. Smoking rates tend to be on the decline in wealthy countries, but they are falling very slowly. Globally, there are more people smoking than ever before and there will be more people smoking tomorrow.

No matter how many bans you introduce, a large minority of adults continues to smoke. Tax rises have had some effect on smoking prevalence but—although you would never say so openly—you are aware that these taxes are a major burden on the poor and are fueling a large and growing black market.

What's more, nearly everything has been tried. All the reasonable stuff—health warnings, anti-smoking ads, banning sales to minors—was introduced before you were born. Even the more extreme measures on the list have mostly been ticked off, which is why you've had to spend the last few years scraping the bottom of the barrel with this silly plain packaging campaign. But what comes next? It has to be prohibition of some sort, and you know that won't work.

At one time, many years ago, it seemed that nicotine patches and gum might offer a solution, but it has become clear that smokers don't really like them and their efficacy as stop-smoking aids is pretty negligible.

And then, out of nowhere, a product falls into your lap that smokers actually like and which helps smokers quit. Incredibly, even smokers who had no intention of quitting find themselves switching to it. There is no evidence that it causes cancer, heart disease or COPD and it doesn't create an odour that non-smokers would find objectionable.

You can't believe your luck. This is the kind of thing that people like Michael Russell hoped to discover in the 1980s: a device that delivers nicotine in a satisfying way without delivering the smoke and the toxins. At last! This changes everything! What an opportunity!

That's scenario number one.

In scenario number two, you are a journeyman public health advocate picking up a nice, steady wage from the government every month. You hold lots of meetings and you go to lots of conferences. You and your colleagues developed a plan of incremental prohibition in the early 1980s and you have it all mapped out.

The Plan was to ban tobacco advertising and then ban smoking in as many places as possible. You were going to raise taxes on tobacco until it became unaffordable for people on low and median incomes. Other ideas—display bans, graphic warnings, banning menthol cigarettes—could be incorporated if you could convince politicians that something should be done and these policies were something.

You would attack what you considered to be the source of problem—the tobacco industry—with plain packaging, windfall taxes, standardised cigarettes or whatever. Gradually, you would beat smokers and the industry down until both were so unpopular that you could push for the final goal of prohibition. Within twenty years (it was always twenty years away) the tobacco industry would be outlawed and there would be no more smoking. In the meantime, there was good money to be made getting research grants to prove that the various policies in The Plan would work.

And then something comes along that you didn't expect. A new product that gives smokers a way to enjoy nicotine without the health risks of smoking cigarettes. You didn't come up with the idea. The government didn't come up with the idea. It came from the private sector, and private businesses are making money out of it. Worse still, after a few years of monitoring the market, the tobacco industry buys up a few companies and now they're making money out of it.

Sure, lots of people are giving up smoking as a result, but not in a way that was part of The Plan. Where does this leave you? What will become of the public health professionals and all their peer-reviewed studies? What about the 'endgame'? What a problem!

So you bite your nails and say to yourself...

"This was a problem we didn't have a number of years ago. It's a real frustration for those of us working in public health because it wasn't even on the horizon a number of years back."

And then you pour yourself a glass of skimmed milk, slump into your armchair and say...

"It's something we're just better off without."


  1. There's hope for the statists yet. They can always call for government-subsidized e-cigarettes. If anybody objects, accuse them of starting a "war on tobacco users."

  2. Until Public Health's deceptions re e-cigs are met with severe legal consequences, nothing will change.

  3. Excellent! This shows the real face of the Tobacco Control prohibitionists. Even to all those who have not realized their real face and motives before.

  4. I suspect that tobacco control sees it product as the TC template of tax bans and restrictions. This is threatened by ecigs and as they hope to flog the product to the sugar, alcohol and 'whatever your having yourself' control brigade they stand to loose a lot.

  5. In their time ONLY their lives matter time, 20 years hence... they'll be asking that their resumes be expunged!

  6. Excellent post! Having chosen Option 2, TC has gone down a path of no return towards their eventual destruction. Vaping will not only eliminate smoking, but also expose the malicious greed of the so-called "public health" militant extremists. I'm hoping it will eventually lead to their convictions for crimes against humanity.

  7. I agree...except there is an Option 3 that none (few) speak its name: selling out to Big Pharms ultra generous support. Quite similar to option 2 but way more opulent: catered meetings, first class travel, stipends, millions for "studies"....why not? Hell we don't even have to disclose a conflict! Gil Ross MD ACSH. NYC

  8. Vaping will not only eliminate smoking...Dude vaping is a passing trend that only got going as a means for smokers to beat the smoking bans. When the bans get repealed and they will vaping will also have seen its hey day gone.

  9. So you really think that all the vapers who suddenly have an extended life expectancy and better health will suddenly swap back to smoking because the ban is over? Better health and longevity is just a fad for these people? Just a subversion of law and taxes? Or do you mean that after smoking becomes non-existent vaping will fade also?

  10. That's a very unintelligent answer. Vaping is only growing and it has nothing to do with prices or bans. It has to do with living healthy and living longer. As a vaper I quit because it's a healthy option and is a fraction of the cost. I feel better and I still can smoke. To think its a fade just shows that you have no idea what vaping is. I'm not talking about the cigarette look alikes that big company's product like blue. They are a waste of money. The public is slowing seeing through them as well.

  11. yep most folks I know vape when in a restaurant they cant smoke in. Then they lite up as soon as they leave. With the college kids its the new and latest hoola hoop fad all over campuses....Even college professors are doing it. But as soon as they get outside they light up!
    Ecigs have a prurpose to get around the bans after that its back to smokes for everybody.

  12. How about Public Health's deceptions re smoking, first with active then passive smoking and recently third hand (!) ? That's been going on without serious consequences for 50 years now

  13. Well said Chris.

    " Incredibly, even smokers who had no intention of quitting find themselves switching to it."

    Yep. That's me in a nutshell.

    Happy New Year:-)

  14. It sure does Anja. There was/is an ANTZ on here in New Orleans that keeps going on about how he/she detests the "evil" 2nd hand smoke, etc... Anyhow, I had engaged this person in what some would call a rational conversation and by the end of it he/she was asking me why I feel the need to use SMOKELESS tobacco via a small tobacco vaporizer in public, to which I replied: I thought that you detested 2nd hand SMOKE.

    It was never about 2nd hand smoke.

  15. I agree with you Nick. The vaping industry is only going to grow for both e-cigarettes/mods/etc..and for whole leaf tobacco vaporizers. It's only going to get better with time.

    I never planned on quitting smoking. However, I have always been interested in harm reduction. I had been experimenting (ever since about 2007) with various vaporizers for both liquid and loose leaf tobacco when I finally stumbled upon a HnB vaporizer that actually tasted good, that was it for me. I was like whoa, this is actually BETTER than smoking. Suddenly, I was a non-smoker. I have also noticed (like so many others obviously) that there has been great improvement in 2nd and 3rd generation e-cig/mods (I try it as of late and it's only going to get better.

    If it tastes good...or better, most smokers will switch via their own free will.

  16. Firstly, arguments between smokers and vapers are becoming a tiresome distraction; both should be alternatives available in a free market, and recent events (e.g. vaping ban in New York) have shown that we have a common enemy, so we should stop squabbling among ourselves.

    Secondly, the second scenario described in this post, is obviously (with a few minor exceptions) the reality. One thing puzzles me though, and I wonder if Mr. Snowdon or anyone else has figured it out. If the Antis are really working step by step towards Prohibition, then they are working towards their own demise. The more 'successful' they are on their own terms, and the sooner it happens, the sooner they will be out of a job. Do they even know what they'll do then? What are they thinking? Likewise, one reason to believe that tobacco will never be illegal, has always been that governments would lose so much tax revenue. So what are THEY thinking? (Or: are they thinking?!)

  17. They are already gearing up to tackle what they call "obesity". And they have begun to recycle their successful tactics to demonize now people not fitting their concept of a "healthy" BMI.

  18. ME2. :D

  19. Thanks! Nice blog:-)

  20. Your absolutely right. It's about finding something that appeals to you. My dad was a 2pad smoker. I bought him a kanger with a protank. He hated the flavor because nothing is like a real cigarette. I tried to find something close to a Marlboro and realized that many cigarettes really don't have a flavor. I bought him a flavorless liquid and since then he loves it. He still smokes but has cut down from 60 to 10. I love my mods and build my own coils and to me it ls a hobby that helps keep me stress free. Vaping isn't a fad and it's not to get around bans. Jack listeria has no idea what he's talking about because he doesn't vape or underdtand the community. I hope all capers move away from the cig a likes and start using mods. Big brands are expensive just like cigarettes. It's just sad they now they are trying to ban ecigs and tax them to oblivion. People have their own reasons for vaping. Some use it to quit, cut down, save money, save themselves. It's a healthier option and everything Jack is saying is absolutely off point and dumb. How do you like your leaf vaporizer? What ecigs are you currently running? I use kangers and spinner when on the go, but always use my ileaf box and nemesis with kayfun tanks when home or have the ability to carry them. Also where are you getting your juice from?

  21. It's not a fad to most people. And many places have a ban on using ecigs indoors. Honestly wherever your getting your information is wrong and you sound convoluted. Are you a vaper? Is all you know from company's like blue and freedom? How often are you in college classrooms watching professors using them? Vaping has nothing to do with bans. I can go buy a pack of cigs for $3 in North Carolina.

  22. Cont.....

    There's a VG-based e-juice line that I tried recently (when home in Chicago for the holidays) called Basic from the company Cignot. It's quite good and easy on the throat. I like their non-tobacco flavors that I tried, especially some of the fruity ones with a Joyetech eGrip. I also have a zero nic VG juice with melatonin that I will vape once in awhile at night..good stuff...and one with passionflower and l-theanine extracted from green tea for an extra boost of anti-oxidants once in a while. I've become somewhat of a hobbyist of vaping, I suppose

  23. Cont.....

    There's a VG-based e-juice line that I tried recently (when home in Chicago for the holidays) called Basic from the company Cignot. It's quite good and easy on the throat. I like their non-tobacco flavors that I tried, especially some of the fruity ones with a Joyetech eGrip. I also have a zero nic VG juice with melatonin that I will vape once in awhile at night..good stuff...and one with passionflower and l-theanine extracted from green tea for an extra boost of anti-oxidants once in a while. I've become somewhat of a hobbyist of vaping, I suppose.

    Ploom is still my fav though and the eGrip is a close(er) 2nd compared to all of the other e-cigs that I've tried.


  24. For me cost was definitely the biggest factor in switching from smoking to vaping. I live in Australia where we have some of the most expensive tobacco cigs in the world. I was tired of giving so much of my very hard earned cash to the government so it could persecute me for a legal activity via its public "health" arm.

    After making the switch, which wasn't as easy as it is in countries with more intelligent governments, (nicotine e-liquid is banned from sale here, as are vapouriser hardware in my state). I needed to source everything online.

    However, once I started vaping I realised it was more enjoyable than smoking, (although no where near as convenient), and I quickly learned how to make my own e-liquid and coils and wicks.

    I now have an enjoyable hobby. It wasn't about being able to dodge smoking bans. I now have the satisfaction of knowing that none of the money I spend on vaping, is going towards the persecution of others.

  25. I have never heard of a melatonin based liquid. That's genius. I'll have to look out for it. I buy a ton of different liquids but 5 pawns is my favorite as well as mt baker vapor. The prices are amazing and so is their product. You basically choose everything. Nic amount, pg/vg ratio and flavoring. 5 pawns is pricey but it's for special occasions. It code me about 20 cents a day to smoke. I will look out for the tobacco vaporizing you mention and try it out. How is it compared to cigarettes in terms of tar and chemicals?

  26. Chris that's exactly what happened when he anti-cigarette leagues were losing the last tobacco prohibition movement and most were recruited into anti-alcohol and became their partners in crime leading to he Volstead act.

    Besides if nothing else they can always become community riot organizers.

  27. Nick your livin in a dream world. First you guys come out totally dissing the smokers and siding with the Nazis trying like heck to get thm to support you as a quit smoking method/aide. Didn't work did it!
    Then smokers saw a way to beat the bans with a few vapes indoors then the Nazis came after that and you.
    Yet you seem to think vaping is here to stay. It filled a nitch market now its a market except one thing you can smoke your favorite rug of choise in it too!
    Smoking been around 600 years vaping maybe base to government revenues ZERO!
    Ive fought for you guys in the past but not likely much anymore since you still haven't learned you the enemy too,to tobacco control and fail to fight them as we do. Still hoping to be accepted as a quit aid or your latest harm reduction choise.....Hell they cant even prove smoking harms anyone and look what they are doing to ecigs!
    Good luck But I wouldn't be buying ecig stocks anytime soon.

  28. Dude your literally illiterate. Your "choice" of works just shows how little minded you are. Vaping is a billion dollar industry. And has helped thousands quit. Go read a encyclopedia, and ps none of youre information is based on facts. Smoking doesn't cause harm? You are literally one of the dumbest people I have ever seen online.

  29. LOVE IT "If it tastes good...or better, most smokers will switch via their own free will." THEY HATE IT!

    7 October, the COT meeting on 26 October and the COC meeting on 18
    November 2004.
    "5. The Committees commented that tobacco smoke was a highly complex chemical mixture and that the causative agents for smoke induced diseases (such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, effects on reproduction and on offspring) was unknown. The mechanisms by which tobacco induced adverse effects were not established. The best information related to tobacco smoke - induced lung cancer, but even in this instance a detailed mechanism was not available. The Committees therefore agreed that on the basis of current knowledge it would be very difficult to identify a toxicological testing strategy or a biomonitoring approach for use in volunteer studies with smokers where the end-points determined or biomarkers measured were predictive of the overall burden of tobacco-induced adverse disease."
    In other words ... our first hand smoke theory is so lame we can't even design a bogus lab experiment to prove it. In fact ... we don't even know how tobacco does all of the magical things we claim it does.
    The greatest threat to the second hand theory is the weakness of the first hand theory.


  31. Judge doesnt accept statistical studies as proof of LC causation!
    It was McTear V Imperial Tobacco. Here is the URL for both my summary and the Judge’s ‘opinion’ (aka ‘decision’):
    (2.14) Prof Sir Richard Doll, Mr Gareth Davies (CEO of ITL). Prof James Friend and
    Prof Gerad Hastings gave oral evidence at a meeting of the Health Committee in
    2000. This event was brought up during the present action as putative evidence that
    ITL had admitted that smoking caused various diseases. Although this section is quite
    long and detailed, I think that we can miss it out. Essentially, for various reasons, Doll
    said that ITL admitted it, but Davies said that ITL had only agreed that smoking might
    cause diseases, but ITL did not know. ITL did not contest the public health messages.
    (2.62) ITL then had the chance to tell the Judge about what it did when the suspicion
    arose of a connection between lung cancer and smoking. Researchers had attempted
    to cause lung cancer in animals from tobacco smoke, without success. It was right,
    therefore, for ITL to ‘withhold judgement’ as to whether or not tobacco smoke caused
    lung cancer.
    [9.10] In any event, the pursuer has failed to prove individual causation.
    Epidemiology cannot be used to establish causation in any individual case, and the
    use of statistics applicable to the general population to determine the likelihood of
    causation in an individual is fallacious. Given that there are possible causes of lung
    cancer other than cigarette smoking, and given that lung cancer can occur in a nonsmoker,
    it is not possible to determine in any individual case whether but for an
    individual’s cigarette smoking he probably would not have contracted lung cancer
    (paras.[6.172] to [6.185]).
    [9.11] In any event there was no lack of reasonable care on the part of ITL at any
    point at which Mr McTear consumed their products, and the pursuer’s negligence
    case fails. There is no breach of a duty of care on the part of a manufacturer, if a
    consumer of the manufacturer’s product is harmed by the product, but the consumer
    knew of the product’s potential for causing harm prior to consumption of it. The
    individual is well enough served if he is given such information as a normally
    intelligent person would include in his assessment of how he wishes to conduct his
    life, thus putting him in the position of making an informed choice (paras.[7.167] to

  32. Just like ecigs what proof of harm none for smoking either.

  33. That article is about cancer. Yes there's no proof that cigarettes cause cancer. That's not even what we're talking about. I said harmful not that they cause cancer. Smoking affects lung capacity and function. Ask any smoker to run a mile and see how hard it is for them. Smoking lowers the amount of oxygen in the blood and is filled with chemicals. Smoking is harmful to the body, and smokers also have a higher chance of cancer according to correlations. We just don't know why it causes cancer. Regardless cigarettes are harmful it out body's and our lungs. You seriously come off so near sighted bud. You took what I said and turned it into something about cancer. And kudos were talking about the US and your article is from UK? I love ruffling feather of the ignorant. It's awesome. Go back to school bud

  34. A study was just done showing smoking aided long distance runners in running without the use of steroids and other drugs. SMOKING and certain chemical compounds did the trick!

  35. Scenario No 2 describes most Public Healh officials.

  36. No true, most will stick to vaping, it is far more pleasant than smoking. Why go back to a product that kills you slowly?

  37. I disagree. I'm what they call a 'dual user', but I would much rather smoke real tobacco than vape.

  38. GREAT piece!!! And so spot on! They want smoking cessation, but on their terms. Sorry, it isn't happening!!!


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