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NICE give green light for e-cigarettes and “harm reduction”

June 2013

The National Institute for Health and Clinical/Care Excellence has announced that they now recommend a “harm reduction” approach to dealing with smoking.

Nicotine “replacement therapies” (nicotine isn’t ‘replaced’ it’s ‘continued’ and there’s nothing therapeutic about it) are now advocated for long term use.

The strategy is based on the prolonged (possibly indefinite) use of nicotine patches, gums, and e-cigarettes being a less harmful alternative to smoking. The suggestion is that smokers can cut down their consumption of cigarettes – something that fails spectacularly in most cases.
These nicotine products are apparently considered a safer alternative to smoking as they contain nicotine but not tar and yet there is little or no significant research into the long term effects of their use.

It’s interesting that NICE, who consistently fail to recommend Allen Carr’s Easyway To Quit Smoking (a globally popular, cost effective, drug-free, and entirely safe method of quitting smoking/ending nicotine addiction) because the studies indicating its success rate are considered “not robust enough”, deem the thin evidence on which this latest guidance is based to be sufficient.

A harm reduction strategy fails to consider the impact that ‘being addicted’ has on the addict’s general well-being, the addict’s family (who will continue to go without everyday essentials so the addiction can be financed), or the addict’s long term physical and mental health. Only someone who has suffered addiction, or had a loved one suffer, can truly appreciate the misery it entails and how that misery afflicts everyone around the addict. Either the addict or the taxpayer will be paying for a life-time supply of nicotine.

It seems clear that smokers are to be ‘parked on nicotine’ indefinitely rather than helped to quit smoking or be freed from their addiction to nicotine. All this begs the question “In whose interest is this guidance?”

What the nicotine industry wants – the nicotine industry gets!