Another scare story about e-cigarettes. What we should be worrying about is sugar

Diet & Fitness

31st March 2015

‘E-Cigs Time Bomb’, shrieks the front page of today’s Daily Mirror. Vaping gets kids hooked on nicotine, experts fear. Experts do a lot of ‘fearing’, it strikes me, but what we don’t know – cannot know for years – is whether e-cigarettes will cause long-term addiction to nicotine. Or what proportion of those nicotine addicts will be people who wouldn’t have smoked cigarettes if a safer alternative hand’t been available. Tiny is my guess.

I notice that the Mirror’s online version of the story backs away from the panic-stricken splash, actually describing the story as a ‘scare’. One triggered, no surprise, by the state of California, which is obsessed with banning anything people might enjoy.

Let me keep this short and sweet. I did read a health story that scared me last week, and it was this one by Spectator Health’s Janna Lawrence, reminding us just how toxic sugar and processed foods are. I can’t say I support her call for such radical government intervention – because I don’t see how it would work – but the health risks of nutrition-free, diabetes-inducing food and soft drinks are hugely more significant than a risk (which we don’t even know exists) to the nation’s health caused by vaping. In fact, vaping is far more likely to save lives than to end them.

So I’m worried by sugar and processed foods, a lot, and regard the e-cig warnings as unfounded, verging on the bogus. I don’t see why I can’t hold both positions. For God’s sake let’s get away from this ‘health fascists’ versus ‘libertarians’ mindset. Some public health problems need to be addressed by legislation. So far I’ve seen nothing to convince me that vaping is one of them.