Jamie Insole, a long term smoker describes the effect that vaping has had on his habit.

June 7th, 2014

I write this piece as a hardened tobacco-smoker of eighteen years who has, in the past, smoked anything up to forty to Camels’ per day. Initially rejecting e-cigs as a bit of frippery, my then partner convinced me to buy one following the death of her friend’s son. Since then, bar for the occasional drunken-accident, I have clung tightly to my ‘photon-tank’. Significantly, this has nothing to do with any commitment to quitting. Rather, it is because I, like many, have quickly come to prefer the rich flavour vapour to that of smoke. What’s more, a simple headcount at Cardiff Central would suggest that I am now in the majority.

Public health drives are rarely modelled by physicians. Rather they have become the property of canny advertising consultants. Whilst seeking to preserve the façade of scientific efficacy, they seek to shock and ‘suggest’ through an established set of referents. Often, the statistical probability of developing an unpleasant and ultimately fatal disease is bound to the suspicion of foul odours, bad-skin and impotence.

Overall, attempts to engineer aversion have proved broadly successful. Having grown up in the late eighties, when courtesy determined that one should only smoke on the top-floor of a double-decker bus, I have witnessed a gradual but radical shift in perception. What was once an everyday event has now become widely perceived as an act of aggression.

This is precisely why we need to draw a distinction between ‘public health’ and social-conditioning. Whereas the one lends its self to rational debate, the other operates on a mute, subliminal level. In way of anecdotal evidence, I point to a friend who recently remarked “why should I be made to inhale somebody else’s breath”? The stakes are high – the 50 or so senior health professionals whose letter featured in last weeks nationals estimated that e-ciggs might potentially save tens of millions of lives world wide. Is it not good sense to think that at least some of this might benefit Wales?

Granted; besides the welcome suspension of nicotine, gelatine and preservative, it would of course be desirable to have some certainty as to what it is I am actually inhaling. However, many of the current proposals far exceed normal quality control. For instance, the suggestion that access should be restricted to pharmacies is not only mean but frankly ludicrous. Clearly an attempt to ‘medicalise by association’, the likely affect of not being able to purchase out-of-hour ‘e-juice’ will be to drive addicts like me to the nearest off licence to wretch upon a packet of ten B&H. From this perspective, policy-makers might as well recommend that contraception be returned to the chemist’s top-shelf (lest young people be tempted into unprotected sex).

Similarly, the notion that an e-cig will ‘normalise’ or ‘glamorise’ tobacco consumption can be easily refuted through the following simple experiment. Next time you are at the bar, offer a Lambert full-strength to a friend or stranger who has for the past three months been happily enjoying vanilla & amaretto. It would be wise to step-away as the effect can easily be compared to inviting a polished taster to knock back a can of special brew!

As any law undergraduate will attest, rights, far from being inviolable, coexist amidst a jumbled range of often contradictory categories. Consequently, my right to free expression is qualified by your right to life, a transaction governed by the principle of ‘proportionality’.

However, what is proportionate can only be properly considered in the wider context of comparative harms. The fact that some Welsh Health Trusts are now prepared to countenance the suspension of treatment pending the completion of a ‘quitters-course’ possibly suggests some of what is at stake. Moreover, given the demographics (smoking is a class issue!), and peculiar strains on the Welsh Health Budget, far from attempting to prohibit or control these machines, it is difficult to see why policy makers are not insisting that charger-points be installed in public places?

So let’s lighten up! Some of us have now acquired visible breath, a predicament not uncommon in Scandinavia. Similarly, the notion that mere exhalation carries a personal or secondary risk does not bode well for joggers, laughers or anybody else who happens to be engaged to strenuous public activity.

On a parting note, if Welsh Government are serious about tackling the major killers of our age, perhaps they would like to spend some time focusing on work-related stress? Speaking as a trade union organiser and ex-tobacco smoker who acquired the addiction as a part consequence of ‘performance-management’, bringing dignity to Welsh workplaces would possibly do more to save lives than restricting access to an innovation that has permitted me to at least mitigate one of the worlds most compelling and deadly addictions.

Doctor – “do no harm”!

Tags: , , , ,

Jamie Insole is a campaign coordinator and an activist for the National Union of Journalists

31 Responses to:““Let’s lighten up!””

  1. David Grant says:

    This is the last of an interesting series of viewpoints. However there are very legitimate concerns about e-cigarettes, and there is a strong probability that the smoker who switches to e-cigarettes is just continuing to bathe the carcinogenic tar residues in their lungs with cancer promoting nicotine – thus accelerating the development of, say, lung cancer.

    See this:
    http://www.thesmokelesssociety.org/E-Cigarette-Health-Warning.html

    and this:
    http://www.nature.com/nrc/journal/v14/n6/full/nrc3725.html

    As an example, the stop smoking guru Allen Carr smoked something like 60 to 100 cigarettes a day for 33 years. He stopped smoking after seeing a hypnotherapist, and sadly died of lung cancer 23 years after stopping smoking. If, instead of stopping smoking, he had switched to e-cigarette nicotine it is very likely that his lung cancer diagnosis would have occurred sooner and he would have died earlier – because of the continued interaction between the e-cig nicotine and the smoke tar residue that remained in his lungs.

    These devices are being banned from public for all sorts of very good reasons:
    http://www.thesmokelesssociety.org/E-Cigarettes-Banned-by-E-Cig-Bans.html

    There is a good summary of e-cig research here, with some very good policy recommendations towards the end:
    http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/129/19/1972.full?sid=ece933ab-eded-4440-ae49-cbdf6f3d12a7

    The best thing to do if you are a smoker is to recognise that you aren’t addicted to smoking (smoking is just a habit of dependency, not an addiction) – and just stop smoking:
    http://www.thesmokelesssociety.org/Nicotine-Addiction-Facts-Part-1.html

    Yes, the Welsh government should ban the use of these devices in public – they are not zero emission and there is no way that anyone can tell what drugs are contained in the pollution that they generate (an e-cig may well be either a fake or its contents may have been tampered with by the user).

    E-cigarettes should be subject to the same advertising and purchasing restrictions as tobacco cigarettes.

    The real reason why vapers clamour for their ‘right’ to use these devices in public is, obviously, because they have been encouraged to do so by an e-cig industry which wants to use its users as ‘walking billboards’ for its products, to recruit new, dependent, users. Also, unfortunately most vapers don’t understand that there is a potential risk associated with inhaling cancer promoting nicotine into lungs filled with the toxic tar residues from years of smoking.

    Dr Julie Bishop’s discussion of the ‘precautionary principle’, is well articulated and is the correct approach:
    “They cannot currently smoke tobacco where and when they choose so it seems illogical to argue that they are somehow disadvantaged by not being allowed to vape where and when they like.”
    http://www.clickonwales.org/2014/06/lets-find-a-balance-in-the-e-cigarette-debate/

    (Report comment)

  2. Keith Regan says:

    Excellent piece Jamie. Like you I now vape and hope to continue well into the future with my preferred flavours. PH have, for some reason, decided to go for us vapers in a big way. If PH had their way we would all be taken outside and stoned to death. Fortunately there are those in the SSS who have seen the benifit of vaping and are encouraging it, even at the risk of putting themselves out of a job.

    As has been said before, if all smokers started vaping we could save a million lives of Britains alive today! Just think about it!

    (Report comment)

  3. David Grant says:

    Furthermore – E-cigarettes should not be widely advertised or used in public.

    Not just because widespread advertising and public use contributes enormously to normalisation of an activity (vaping) for which there is no evidence whatsoever that it is either safe when used long term or that vaping will not either worsen existing health conditions or create new health problems (in fact the available evidence indicates the opposite).

    And not just because these devices are not zero emission and introduce unknown and unnecessary psychoactive drugs and pollution into the air for others (non-users, including children) to breathe passively – with effects that may include discouraging a user from successfully quitting either smoking or vaping.

    And not just because widespread advertising and public use will encourage new users (and children) to start using e-cigarettes and waste their life to nicotine inhalation – and also possibly act as a gateway to addiction to harder illicit drugs, such as heroin and cocaine etc.

    But also (less well known) because smoking and cigarette imagery are believed to provoke a ‘Pavlovian response’ (derived from the conditioned response of Pavlov’s dogs that salivated in response to environmental indicators, a dinner bell, that indicated it was dinner time). The Pavlovian response experienced by the smoker is an experiencing of the desire to have cigarette in response to imagery (real or advertising) that depicts cigarettes.

    For example, see the following link:

    http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/129/19/1972.full?sid=ece933ab-eded-4440-ae49-cbdf6f3d12a7

    Embedded in the depths of the above link, where it assesses latest research it is stated: “The 34% of participants who had used e-cigarettes were significantly more likely to think about smoking cigarettes after viewing the ad than nonusers (83% and 72%, respectively), suggesting that viewing an e-cigarette commercial may induce thoughts about smoking and cue the urge to smoke.”

    And also this link:

    http://www.futurity.org/seeing-e-cigarettes-triggers-urge-smoke/

    Both links talk about people developing the urge to smoke as a result of observing others smoking, and this again strongly supports the proposition that advertising or public use of any kind will undermine attempts to quit by smokers who may be finding it difficult and who may be struggling in their attempt to quit their habit of dependency upon nicotine.

    So, the bottom line is that advertising and public use of e-cigarettes will not only encourage new people to start using these devices, but will also contribute to normalising the activity and its ‘acceptability’ within society, but, very significantly, will also work to actively undermine the quit attempts of those users of both e-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes who may be in the early stages of quitting and finding it difficult to resist the temptation to have ‘just one cigarette’.

    This fact, of course, is well known to the cigarette industries (both e and tobacco) and is the main reason why they are encouraging their users to campaign so vigorously on their behalf for the ‘freedom’ to use e-cigarettes in public spaces.

    And of course the above reasons are all part of the rationale behind other countries, that are more advanced, progressive, and less corrupt than the UK, having already implemented bans on these these devices.

    (Report comment)

  4. Liam Bryan says:

    Wow, there’s a lot to pick out of what David Grant is saying – this statement jumped out at me:
    “The best thing to do if you are a smoker is to recognise that you aren’t addicted to smoking (smoking is just a habit of dependency, not an addiction) – and just stop smoking:”
    Which is great news to the 20% of the population who are smokers, and full of empathy to boot.
    I don’t know but I suspect that David Grant may be having his livelihood threatened somehow by these devices – which he doesn’t really get – for instance he thinks ” its contents may have been tampered with by the user”. Does he mean the eliquid I make myself and pour into the 4ml tank over my self wound coil?

    I would encourage David Grant to look at the other side of the argument for a minute:
    http://www.clivebates.com/?p=2197

    I am also insulted by David Grant’s suggestion that I am being encouraged by industry: “This fact, of course, is well known to the cigarette industries (both e and tobacco) and is the main reason why they are encouraging their users to campaign so vigorously on their behalf for the ‘freedom’ to use e-cigarettes in public spaces.”. I’m commenting here because ecigs have stopped my smoking and I’m appalled by moves by a (thankfully decreasing) number of so-called Public Health advocates to restrict their use.

    (Report comment)

  5. Fergus Mason says:

    @David Grant –

    “there is no way that anyone can tell what drugs are contained in the pollution that they generate ”

    Yes there is. It’s called scientific analysis, and IT’S BEEN DONE. There is no health risk from exhaled vapour. Please stop this hysterical scaremongering and try to grow up a bit.

    (Report comment)

  6. Roger Hall says:

    Having just read David Grant’s long rant I do wish that the focus on any e-cig discussion was based around facts and the simple and overriding objective which is to try and reduce the harm caused by smoking tobacco. Fact: We all now know that 50% of smokers will die from smoking related diseases. Fact: We now all know that it isn’t nicotine that causes the harm but the smoke. Fact: Nicotine is considered safe enough to be given to 12 year children via nicotine patches and gum, so let’s not attempt to use imaginary health concerns about nicotine to sidetrack the issues. Fact: E-cigarettes are considered universally to be at least 95% safer than smoking tobacco. Fact: The use of an e-cig involves no combustion or smoke so is not legally considered to even be smoking. Fact: The ban on smoking was brought about because of the health concerns of second hand tobacco smoke – vaping does not produce smoke, so the same fears are non existent. Fact: Without e-cigs tobacco smokers have no safer alternative to a product that is legally available as a recreational consumer product, namely the tobacco cigarette. Fact: The NHS has spent over £1.2 billion pounds on NHS Stop Smoking Services over the past 12 years with a success of 147,000 long term quitters. Fact: E-cigs without any public funding or state involvement have generated 700,000 full time ex smokers in under 5 years. Fact: Sweden has the lowest rates of smoking related diseases within the EU. Fact: Sweden endorses and encourages a recreational consumer nicotine alternative to tobacco namely Snus. Fact: The EU chooses to ban the use of Snus anywhere except Sweden, despite all scientific and statistical data demonstrating that if smokers have a viable alternative to smoking tobacco they will embrace it and lives will be saved. Fact: An e-cig is not a cigarette and does not contain tobacco. Fact: encouraging e-cigs by every means possible will ensure that more and more current tobacco smokers choose to use a safer alternative. Sadly not everyone wants to see the demise of tobacco smoking be replaced by a safer and less harmful alternative and the facts are there for everyone to see.

    (Report comment)

  7. Tony Holden says:

    Having read a couple of links provided by David Grant in his comments, I can see that they report on “research” by Stanton Glantz. In my experience much of this gentleman’s research draws conclusions that bear little, or no relation, to to the data being used.

    Can I also point out that nicotine is not carcinogenic, nor is there a strong probability that it will promote the growth of cancer, as claimed by David Grant, even when it bathes, “the carcinogenic tar residues in their lungs with cancer promoting nicotine”. An idea that belongs with the medical advances of ancient Greece, and the four humours.

    (Report comment)

  8. David says:

    Could Mr.Grant share with us his interpretation of the precautionary principal ?

    (Report comment)

  9. Robert Heyes says:

    What a load of tosh is written here by David Grant (former VC of Cardiff University perhaps?), who is being very selective about the ‘research’ he quotes – The Smokeless Society for goodness sake!

    He clearly also doesn’t understand all the ramifications of the precautionary principle. The burden of proof that an action or policy is not harmful is upon those proposing it. I would contend that forcing vapers to stand outside with the smokers would be harmful, and would also remove one of the nudges that gets people to start vaping in the first place.

    One thing I have never understood about people of David’s ilk who don’t want to see e-cigarettes (or cigarettes for that matter) in public is that they force us out of the pubs and on to the street – there is no logic in this position.

    (Report comment)

  10. mattdidius says:

    @david grant

    wow, so many things backward, ill thought and just plain wrong in 2 comments. But i’ll limit myself to just this. TAR stands for Tobacco aerosol residue that you think it needs another residue on the end goes some way to illustrating you know nothing of which you are speaking

    (Report comment)

  11. Neal Roff says:

    David Grant. Are you Martin McKee in disguise? I ask because you seem to be writing directly from the mans work. The last paragraph is word for word a McKee Quote. Almost all the links you provide are opinion pieces, usually written by Anti Smoking/Tobacco organisations and NOT scientific evidence. There is little scientific data that suggests Vaping is anything other that reasonably safe, what little there is could be considered highly questionable and in fact has been questioned by many scientists. Your two comments would appear to be those of someone from one of the many organisations with a vested interest is preventing the uptake of e-cigs for whatever reason. I call you out on these two statements:
    You said “The real reason why vapers clamour for their ‘right’ to use these devices in public is, obviously, because they have been encouraged to do so by an e-cig industry which wants to use its users as ‘walking billboards’ for its products, to recruit new, dependent, users.”
    What e-cig industry would that be? The ecig industry is a mass of very small companies and certainly not organised in the way you suggest unless you are referring to Big Tobacco who have only just started to try and buy there way into the market. They most certainly have not had any influence on the uptake and use of e-cigs as you well know. Far from it, until late last year and, to a degree, even now have tried to get ecigs bannned and over regulated to pave the way for their wonder e-cigs.
    And you said
    “Also, unfortunately most vapers don’t understand that there is a potential risk associated with inhaling cancer promoting nicotine into lungs filled with the toxic tar residues from years of smoking.”

    Cancer promoting nicotine? Really? There is only one possible thing about nicotine that could be related to cancer. Nicotine facilitates blood vessel growth which when combined with an already existing cancer could and the word is COULD enable the cancer cell to grow more readily. That would be the already existing cancer cell because as far as ANY science is aware, nicotine is not carcinogenic. If you were to read the cited sources for the opinion piece you quoted you would have discovered that for yourself. Nicotine also has the potential for many health gains. This is becoming clearer and more researched as people are able to disassociate relatively harmless nicotine from the scourge of tobacco smoking.

    (Report comment)

  12. Fergus Mason says:

    @David Grant –

    “cancer promoting nicotine”

    When you say “cancer promoting” are you referring to the fact that it encourages the repair and growth of blood vessels? Because if you are that’s a bit like demanding a ban on “fire promoting” oxygen – technically true, but in fact extremely dishonest.

    (Report comment)

  13. Alan Beard says:

    Excellent article Jamie,one of the fellow people replying to this has put forward the worst set of cherry picked data and so called “studies to support his and Julie Bishops position that I shall refrain from commenting further other than saying thanks… to yourself!

    (Report comment)

  14. vereybowring says:

    @David Grant.

    Must have taken quite an effort to dig out all those articles with negatives whilst at the same time completely ignoring all the positive research. Have you considered trying for a job working for Stanton Glantz who is so good with data he can come to different conclusions from the the raw data ? Then he has worked in tobacco control for many years so you’ve have a lot of catching up to do in spinning data to suit your needs.

    To read many studies and articles that report all sides of the debate I suggest you get along to nicotinepolicy..net and read everything there – come back when you’ve finished, it may however take some time.

    (Report comment)

  15. Joanne Lincoln says:

    Good piece from Jamie Insole – some good observations on social conditioning, especially. Sadly, commenter David Grant fails to get it at all, despite having read the article. Let’s straighten out the issue of e-cig manufacturers wanting their customers to become walking billboards, for a start. Fully 80% of the market is dominated by companies that most people have never even heard of. That alone kind of makes a massive hole in any “evil marketing empire” you can imagine. Now, it’s quite possible that companies such as JoyeTech are beaming subliminal messages directly into the brains of members of the public, but unlikely. These are not companies who advertize in the mass media to any appreciable extent.

    The e-cigarette currently in my hand is made by companies who have never advertized or even marketed their products in anything like a conventional way. The idea of “e-cigarette companies” using insidious marketing techniques is a non-argument. Besides which, these are legal products sold by legitimate businesses. What’s wrong with them being marketed?

    Let’s also dismiss the idea of companies encouraging users to “campaign so vigorously on their behalf for the ‘freedom’ to use e-cigarettes in public spaces.”. As one who knows about these vigorous campaigners, I find this particularly offensive and incredibly poorly informed. At no time has any company, or its representatives, encouraged me or anybody I know to undertake campaigning on, effectively, their behalf. People are quite capable of organizing themselves into such campaigns without any form of commercial backing. It is certainly the case in the UK that every single campaign against draconian e-cigarette regulation has been funded the campaigners themselves.

    I can forgive all of that and put it down to the writer being in possession of poor information, but to put forward the notion that e-cigarettes can ” possibly act as a gateway to addiction to harder illicit drugs, such as heroin and cocaine etc.” is an argument so groundless and facile that it beggars belief. You know nothing of which you speak. Truly nothing. To make such a claim with absolutely no evidence to support it is monumentally irresponsible. That is straight from the playbook of celebrated charlatan Stanton Glantz. Whose study, incidentally, Mr. Grant links to in support of the claim that using an e-cigarette provokes a Pavlovian response in smokers. Take the time to read the methodology used in this so-called study. Then draw conclusions. Short version – it’s another non-argument. Which seems to be all that some people have left in the locker.

    (Report comment)

  16. David Moger says:

    Well David Grant. We can see you have a problem with vaping. It would be helpful to other readers of these comments to know who you are and on who’s behalf you are writing. I dout if you will respond or tell the truth. In the mean time could all the people who have read David Grants comments remember that there are many groups of people who are against vaping for financial reasons not public health. Governments do not want to loose the tobacco tax. Pharma companies do not want to loose the NRT business or the lung cancer and COPD drugs that they spent millions on developing so they have to keep selling them so people have to keep smoking. All the anti smoking organisations and smoking cessesion people could all be looking for new jobs if smokers switched to vaping. Just saying.

    (Report comment)

  17. Anthony Billingham says:

    In response to David Grant’s comment on nicotine being as bad as he suggests.
    The truth, http://www.ecigarette-politics.com/the-great-nicotine-myth.html
    Also you need to look at the positive side of nicotine, see here. http://www.nicotinepolicy.net/all-authors/85-jacques-le-houezec/640-the-positive-effects-of-nicotine

    As for this comment, “And of course the above reasons are all part of the rationale behind other countries, that are more advanced, progressive, and less corrupt than the UK, having already implemented bans on these these devices. ”
    Evidence of corruption has not been supplied, to support the claim.
    But I will say in response, that many so called “experts” in other countries. Are largely funded, both directly and in-directly by big pharmaceutical companies. Who stand to loss the most in the wake of the e-cigarette tidal wave. So I’ll let the reader, decide if any corruption is afoot.

    As for the renormalizing, and non-smoker up take argument. The recent ASH survey clearly shows the gateway swings the other way, out of tobacco smoking. http://www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_891.pdf

    (Report comment)

  18. ronaldo says:

    e-cigs save lives fact
    ecigs don’t pollute fact
    nicotine does not give you cancer fact
    there is no passive anything with e-cigs fact

    flying in a airplane pollutes ban it
    airplane kicks out to much pollution ban it
    planes are bad for my health ban it

    I would say close all airports ban all cars stop the sale of all alcohol ban the sale of tobacco coffee coca cola shut down Mc donalds burger king ect ect ect as all have proved to be more dangerous than a ecig

    I will never holiday I wales again if the bigots get there way

    (Report comment)

  19. Dr David Upton says:

    David Grant, I doubt that’s your real name. You display a misunderstanding of smokers, vapers and the psychology and chemistry underlying both cigarette addiction and nicotine usage. You also show a complete misunderstanding of motivation to vape and you do a great disservice to public health with your comments. There is a great deal of published research, which you clearly do not understand, and which would lead an unbiased observer to different conclusions to your own.
    Please do not enter a discussion where you clearly do not understand the research you quote in support of your untenable position.

    (Report comment)

  20. Geoffrey Cliff says:

    Was the supposedly erudite David Grant ever a student under Professor Mark Drakeford? His ignorance is at least on a par with the latter, and his suppositions and unfounded accusations against vaping show the same rabid lip-foaming manner that marks the professor’s ‘public health’ debating methodology. Both these gentlemen should immediately find alternative employment, and I suggest that they are amply qualified for a career in cherry-picking!

    (Report comment)

  21. Tim Laslett says:

    Thank you Jamie for an interesting and perceptive article.

    As to the comments by David Grant (or whoever you are), what can be said of someone who quotes a succession of discredited opinion pieces to reveal his own twisted dogma. A PH employee who fears for his job? Or a planted Pharma stooge? Either that, or he just wants to wind up Vapers for the ‘sport’. There’s a few of those around as we well know.

    To be honest, it doesn’t really matter because the argument for tobacco harm reduction has already, in actuality, been won. This is evident from the eloquent prose presented by the real people who advocate on behalf of E-cigarettes on this page. Real people, Mr Grant. Unlike yourself.

    (Report comment)

  22. Patricia Waters says:

    David – would you like to re-post on this thread once you have read the open letter recently sent to Dr. Chan of the WHO by 53 eminent world wide experts? But no – I have a feeling you might know better than them.
    http://nicotinepolicy.net/documents/letters/MargaretChan.pdf

    (Report comment)

  23. Paul Beal says:

    Thank you for your socially aware piece Jamie Insole. Having been smoke free for over a year now, thanks to vaping, it’s always a pleasure to hear from like-minded individuals who just “get it”.

    I think the article itself and the subsequent comments effectively deal with the ludicrous counter argument of the blatantly agenda driven David Grant, with his links to the idiot’s consensus upon which it relies merely proving the financial interests at stake, so I’ll take this opportunity to simply remind him that a stink held down in lies will never be as effective as one kicked up by truth.

    (Report comment)

  24. Martin Sowle says:

    David grant type .improof. in to your web browser, oh and think of the children the ones that will meet their grand parents who now have a chance of being here instead of dieing of smoking related Desease as all my grandparents did.

    (Report comment)

  25. Neal Roff says:

    A question for you David Grant. Would you be the same David Grant that is a former colleague of the previous PHW Chair? If so, that would explain your position wouldn’t it.

    (Report comment)

  26. Alan Beard says:

    As others have pointed out ,the “studies” that David Grant refers to all have traceability back to Stanton Glantz ,I wonder also if Mr Grant also has some connection with the consultants like Julie Bishop who advised the Welsh Government in drafting the White Paper .

    If any part of what I have included above is correct then sadly Science has been ill-served, and dogma taken over. Numerous unsupported and ill founded comments abound in the 2 comments that seems also to be present from Ms Bishop and consequently the White Paper .

    Were any of the 50 experts who sent a joint letter to the WHO consulted at any stage in this process ,those people are the World experts not a marginalised US Professor qualified in Mechanical Engineering whose self stated tactics involve manipulating the truth to suit his own agenda .Surely the advisers to and the Welsh Government itself couldn’t possibly put forward this discredited work as part of the White Paper.

    I just wonder if the Welsh Government are having some regrets at its choice of consultants – surely to wish to produce a progressive workable policy with popular support was required not something totally unfounded dogma driven and deeply unpopular . So whether or not my initial suspicions of Mr Grants comments are factual or not, the White Paper needs to be resubmitted once unbiased research and independent consultants are sought

    (Report comment)

  27. Andrew Jinks says:

    As someone who has never smoked but who has several family members and other loved ones who are struggling to give up by various means, I agree with the main thrust of what Jamie is saying. I don’t see the sense in what Mark Drakeford is proposing, it seems like badly researched paternalism.

    But there is one aspect of of the debate about vaporisers/e-cigarettes that does worry me – the danger of helping to renormalise smoking, especially amongst young people. The fact that many (not all) e-cigs resemble cigarettes I find a problem. Also the marketing of flavours of nicotine solution (if that’s the right word) like bubblegum – something I would argue is clearly aimed at kids rather than adults. If the Welsh Assembly Government wanted to regulate on those issues I would support them, but not what they are proposing at the moment.

    (Report comment)

  28. Keith Stammrs says:

    Great piece, and good points for a tobacco smoker looking for electronic cigarettes as an healthier alternative, wishing to keep the habit without the adverse health implications. The Hippocratic oath if it were ever observed by those with their” honorary doctorate’s” would bar them from ever giving any allopathic medication as it probably kills more people than the dis-eases it is formulated to cure, note that a medic unless he/she is a full time researcher has no business giving advice based on research findings that are unverified, or have been put out by a vested interest ie ; Pharmaceutical company wishing to profit from what they say they found, as too many pharmas have been caught falsifying drug trials and withholding adverse findings to be trusted with the public’s health concerns. Good luck to all those electronic cigarette users who have taken it upon themselves to seek out a healthier, cleaner and more socially acceptable alternative to tobacco smoking..

    (Report comment)

  29. Alan Beard says:

    @Andrew Jinks

    2 comments that you made towards the end ASH-LDN very recently published a survey and study and found no gateway or re-normalisation evidence ,the only teenage users were previous smokers see http://www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_715.pdf
    The UK market for cigalike types is ~30% and actually decreasing due to consumer preference for more customisable types .
    Customising also includes + encompasses your last point Adults Do Like flavours like bubblegum -my wife aged 55 actually prefers that over any of the other 100 or so flavours we currently use
    Why so many flavours + some frivolous ones at that? …choice!!

    If the only teenagers using e-cigs are former cigarette smokers (as per ASH study) does it make any difference what flavours are available on the market, restrictions along the lines you advocate would have no positive result rather causing inconvenience for adult users

    (Report comment)

  30. Davidoff says:

    Thalidomide

    (Report comment)

  31. David Grant says:

    @Alan Beard

    The BBC’s Panorama sting on Pattrick Mercer MP revealed the steps that are required for rich lobbyists to obtain influence with politicians:

    1. Establish an All Party Parliamentary Group of about 20 MPs drawn from all persuasions.

    2. Establish a ‘secretariat’ to run the APPG for the MPs – because the MPs aren’t really bothered enough about the topic to do anything themselves about it – but are always on the lookout for a free holiday or conference in an exotic place such as Fiji. Ideally the ‘secretariat’ is established as a fake/bogus charity e.g. ‘Friends of Fiji’ to give the appearance of the arrangement being above aboard.

    3. Having established the APPG the rich lobbyist now has a group of MPs which it can use to ‘gain influence’ within Westminster.

    With smoking, of course, the APPG is the APPG on Smoking and Health, for which its secretariat is the ‘charity’ ASH (Action on Smoking and Health).

    ASH is not ‘anti-smoking’ but ‘pro-industry’ – hence its pushing of nicotine patches and gum etc. for the pharmaceutical industry (ineffective for cessation), and now e-cigarettes on behalf of BAT (maintains the nicotine dependency just changes the delivery mechanism – and again ineffective for cessation).

    ASH exists solely to provide a nice balance of reward to the tobacco industry, the pharmaceutical industry, and the tax income for the country. And by pushing an nicotine, an addictive and dangerous drug, as a solution, smokers/vapers never quit and remain dependent – and the cash keeps rolling in…

    Many people think ASH is a charity (after all it is registered as a charity), and leave it £k’s in bequests in wills and charitable donations – which of course it is happy to accept (even though it is really a front group for industry)…

    …and of course (in the case of ASH) any research is supported by ‘research’ carried out by academics and professors in Colleges and Universities across the UK, such as Nottingham University – who are all part of the industry.

    Deborah Arnott is the Chief Executive, Action on Smoking and Health (UK) (ASH (UK)) – and she has been awarded the position of honorary Associate Professor in the Division of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Nottingham – the university which was given £4m ‘sponsorship’ by tobacco giant BAT in 2000 – which it seems the university used to establish a ‘campus’ in China(!) – where e-cigarettes were developed and are now being manufactured. Small world isn’t it ?

    ASH is not interested in helping smokers/vapers to stop. Smoking is a psychological problem. When Allen Carr died ASH immediately called the 50%+ success of his approach into doubt and were taken to court and had to apologise/retract what they said. See:

    http://allencarr.com/133/ash-apologise-to-allen-carrs-easyway

    http://allencarr.com/274/the-nicotine-war-is-warming-up

    Only this morning there are news reports that NICE are trying to force more drugs on the nation – probably to swell the coffers of the pharmaceutical industry, and this is being resisted by doctors. See:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-27784711

    There are huge problems within the UK and the NHS regarding industry lobbying and the willingness of NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) to take on board the views and opinions of ‘consultants’ and professors in Universities and Colleges who are all funded by very rich and powerful industries and are being paid to push/endorse/recommend products.

    ASH is a lead campaigner for industry and all of ASH’s ‘research’ and statements are designed to sell product, mainly nicotine – if ASH really wanted to help smokers it would promote the fact that the overwhelmingly vast majority of successful quitters quit cold turkey, ‘unassisted’.

    Take everything that ASH says with a pinch of salt.

    @Andrew Jinks

    Might be worth bearing mind also that an Israeli toddler has already died as a result of drinking e-cig juice (presumably attracted by the nice flavourings) – and a dog was also killed earlier this year by e-cig juice. Not to mention people being killed by the exploding battery packs:

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/police-investigating-toddler-death-from-nicotine-overdose/

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/dog-dies-after-coming-into-contact-with-ecigarette-9139535.html

    http://www.derbys-fire.gov.uk/news/news-items/fire-at-residential-nursing-home

    (Report comment)

Have your say

Please let us know in your message if you do not want the IWA to contact you in future or related IWA activity.