Well done Public Health England for seeing through the hysteria on e-cigarettes

If you want evidence of the mess we have got ourselves into with regard to e-cigarettes you only have to look at today’s newspapers. While the Welsh government is planning to ban e-cigarettes, Public Health England announced today that they should be available on prescription, free on the NHS. How have we got ourselves into the situation where one nation thinks they are the answer to the smoking problem while another clearly believes they are so harmful and damaging they should be made illegal?

I actually think this confusing response reflects the confused response of the medical profession. While one half have welcomed e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco and understood that, as Derek Yach has argued before in his cover piece for Spectator Health, it’s not nicotine that kills people, but smoking, the other half have vehemently opposed them, claiming they *might* be dangerous.

Yet there’s no evidence at all of damage to health from e-cigarettes. On the contrary, there’s now very good evidence that they are helping people give up tobacco. They are now the most popular quit method, more so than conventional nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) such as gum and patches.

I think many of the doctors who object to e-cigarettes do so because they resent the fact that people are now feeling empowered, have found something that they like and that works for them and don’t need the medical profession to use. Doctors resent the fact that they are no longer in control. But this paternalistic view of the doctor-patient relationship is woefully outdated.

What irritates these reactionary doctors even more is that some people have simply switched to electronic cigarettes and show no intention of giving up. How dare they! But so what if people choose to remain addicted to nicotine from something that happens to look like a cigarette? I wish the medical profession would learn to relax and start viewing things pragmatically. It is profoundly worrying that governments such as the Welsh Assembly are listening to this cohort in the medical profession while ignoring the fact there’s no evidence of harm. Well done to Public Health England for ignoring the hysteria and looking at the evidence instead.

  • OfJamaicensis

    A big thank you to Public Health England. Can we now put our minds to improving the safety from 95 to 99 percent.

  • The key question is assuming you’re being sold what you think you are (the ingredients are as-listed) are the safer than “smoking”. We also need to stop confusing giving up smoking and giving up nicotine; they’re not the same – one is useful as a public health measure and one is based on the sort of ideology that does far more harm that good like American missionaries in Africa telling people that condoms are bad and that abstaining from sex is the way forward.

    There also a lot of evidence that the old tobacco industry is buying up some of the ecig manufacturers and driving some of the push towards legislating against some of the types of ecigs that people actually want (i.e. anything based on the 510 de-facto standard) by pushing legislation that will make them impossible to use by banning the juices that people actually want. There should be some control over various parts of the process and if people are selling juices tained with substances like ethylene glycol as has been suggested their should be penalties for it but treating them as medicines will create a huge black market that will again cause more harm than good.

    • David Mullen

      I would like to see how regulations posted in Brussels are going to change production methods in China and the US.Who needs the EU dictating their lives anyway.I for one will never be told what to vape,and what I should vape with!The EU are going to need some pretty big jails to hold us all in! 10,000,00 vapers in jail❗

      • “The EU are going to need some pretty big jails”

        It’s not a question of you going to jail, it’s a question of companies who supply products to consumers having problems like taking fines which they’re not going to want to do. Of course there’s none to very few of them in the EU supply chain what one would call dangerous products anyway.

        The key question is here is would you vape on battery acid – of course you wouldn’t, so what’s the exact problem on banning products containing it from being sold as vape juices.