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Research shows that e-cigarettes are ‘as bad for the heart as tobacco’
Only a fool would claim that e-cigarettes are as bad for you as smoking normal cigarettes but there is no doubt that Public Health England have been extremely premature in beckoning them as the ‘silver bullet’ for the smoking problem – especially when it’s far safer and far more cost-effective to cure smokers of their addiction than park them on nicotine for the rest of their lives.
For some time, many esteemed members of the scientific anti-tobacco establishment outside the UK have been telling me that the UK’s policymakers have been far too quick to welcome e-cigarettes and vaping into their smoking cessation plans. With a nod and a wink, they’ve implied that the people at Public Health England and Action on Smoking & Health (ASH) may well end up looking foolish – especially when hard data about levels of ‘dual use’ become more established.
‘Dual use’ is the term used to describe the act of being a smoker and a vaper at the same time ie smoking cigarettes when you are able to and using e-cigs when you are not. It’s the fly in the ointment of Public Health England’s policy because the statistics that claim vaping will save millions of lives rely heavily on people switching entirely from cigarettes to vaping – NOT – doing both.
The fact that vaping is less harmful than smoking is one thing – whether or not there’ll be any studies in the next 20 years to indicate the effect of dual use is highly questionable. In whose interest is it to undertake such a study? Certainly not in Big Pharma and Big Tobacco’s interest – they are both involved in the exploitation of nicotine addiction via cigarettes and e-cigarettes (and remember British American Tobacco became the first tobacco company to have a nicotine product licensed as a medicine – so Big Tobacco are now on both sides of the game). Is it in Public Health England’s or ASH’s interests to prove that they’ve made policy on the hoof and not in the best interests of smokers? I guess not. Personally I think they’ve set the quest to cure the world of smoking back 30 years and feeling foolish is the least of their worries compared to how history and perhaps even the law will eventually judge them.