Wacky British Idea: Why Not Tell the Truth About E-Cigarettes?

English public health officials, unlike ours, recognize the harm-reducing potential of vaping.


A recent report from Public Health England endorses vaping as a harm-reducing alternative to smoking. In my latest Forbes column, I contrast that position with the irrational fear and loathing of e-cigarettes common among American public health officials:

Last week Public Health England (PHE), a government agency, published a detailed report on electronic cigarettes that describes them as far less dangerous than the conventional kind and recommends them as a harm-reducing alternative. "Encouraging smokers who cannot or do not want to stop smoking to switch to EC [electronic cigarettes] could help reduce smoking-related disease, death and health inequalities," the report says. "Smokers who have tried other methods of quitting without success could be encouraged to try EC to stop smoking, and stop smoking services should support smokers using EC to quit by offering them behavioural support."

PHE's position should not be controversial. It is indisputable that vaping, which does not involve tobacco or combustion, is much safer than smoking, and it logically follows that smokers can dramatically reduce the health risks they face by switching. Yet public health agencies and anti-smoking organizations in the United States, unlike their counterparts in the U.K., are strangely reluctant to acknowledge these points, implausibly portraying e-cigarettes as a threat rather than an opportunity. The British example points the way to a calmer, more rational approach that is consistent with the public health goal of reducing the morbidity and mortality associated with smoking.

Read the whole thing.

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  1. Hopefully my 30W battery and sub-ohm atomizer will be coming in the mail today. Gonna make some clouds!

    1. Yay! It arrived!

      1. *turns on Jamaican techno music*

        1. Funny, but the college station I'm listening to is playing something similar to that.

  2. I quit smoking 5 years ago October 10. Not that I remember specifically that it was after being deposed at Miller Canfield in Detroit on behalf of my employer. Sunny day. I went out to my car, picked up my 1/2 a pack of Marlboros, then threw them in the passenger seat, drove back home to Cleveland, and never had another one.

    That pack sat on the counter in my kitchen for 2 years - just as a test. Finally got rid of them when I got transferred back to Michigan in 2012.

    Good times. Can't wait to retire so I can start smoking pot again, finally....

    1. One of the great things about a laissez-faire way of life is it allows people the freedom to show their true colors and makes it easier to identify retards, such as people who smoke.

      1. to identify retards, such as people who smoke

        and don't forget the judgmental!

        1. Proudly judgmental. Looks like I'm in the right place.

          1. We're all retards 😉

            1. That would be a great band name.

      2. I just know I feel SO much better every morning since I quit. Absolutely amazing.

        Go figure, right?

      3. Or, say, people who militantly take part in the so-called "Gay Lifestyle" and have meny episodes of unprotected anal sex with strangers. Which, statistically, will kill you a good deal faster than smoking. Not that we are permitted to mention this by Our Betters.


        Eat right. Exercise. Don't drink or do hard drugs. Stay monogamous. Brush your teeth. Die anyway.

  3. The best that anti-smokers can cone up with down here is that vaping glamourises smoking. Oh, and no-one knows what the long-term effects might be*

    * I thought there was plenty of data about the long-term effects of nicotine intake, but then again i'm not a public health advocate

    1. If they admitted that nicotine was not the synonym for tobacco they used it for starting with the Big Tobacco lawsuits, it would force them to confront the fact that nicotine addiction can no longer be forced to generate tax revenue AND kickback money into the states' general revenue fund. And, furthermore, that they've been pretty complicit in helping thousands die after the ill effects of long-term tobacco use were publicly known.

    2. Well, yeah. The real problem with vaping, from their perspective, is that it's basically thoughtcrime. They can't come right out and say that, of course, but the problem is that it "normalizes" smoking (which some of them are honest enough to say) and they can't accept that, because it's a blow against them in the culture war, and that is their ultimate goal: to control culture.

    3. It "glamorizes smoking" in the sense of having something long & thin stuck in your mouth, I guess.

  4. "Encouraging smokers who cannot or do not want to stop smoking to switch to EC [electronic cigarettes] could help reduce smoking-related disease, death and health inequalities," the report says.

    Yeah, we can't have someone smoking themselves into a health inequality, now, can we?

  5. Now, if only their climate scientists could be as transparent.

    1. Oh, they are transparent alright. I don't think they could be more so.

  6. Thing is, smoking isn't a public health issue, and hasn't been since, oh, about 1990. Maybe longer. It's a Liberal-Intellectuals drumming their heels on the floor, shrieking "Whaaaa! You aren't doing what we TOLD you to!" issue. The vast majority of statistics quoted in public on smoking and health ase utter hogwash. One tell is how, no matter what aspect of smoking is being discussed, the number 400,000 keeps cropping up. As if they were dimly aware that claiming half a million was too much.

    There may be, probably is, a public health issue buried under all the petulant "we know best" bullshit. But it's awfully hard to tell.

  7. The mishigos is fairly recent in the USA. Certainly 40 yrs. ago, probably 30, maybe even 25, the problem was conceived as one amenable to technologic solution: People like tobacco, esp. for smoking, but it causes these problems, so what can we do to reduce or eliminate those problems?

    Then "something" happened. One of these societal changes that occur in a relatively short time where the accepted wisdom changes, & nobody acknowledges that it changed, let alone explains why. The old "of course" goes away, replaced by the new "of course". I've seen it happen also with sugar, fur, and things "natural".

  8. Well it is true. It is better for you than smoking. I will only vape premium tobacco eliquid, and do not touch the cigarettes now. I feel so much better. It is so true, and other officials such as the FDA need to call it how it is, and quit trying to say oh its targeting kids to lets regulate the hell out of it. And alcohol doesn't and that has been around for years. Such bs and it is not fair.

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