Friday, July 17, 2009

Why anti-smokers oppose the e-cig

A recent post on Dr. Michael Siegel's blog takes the ACS to task over their opposition to the electronic cigarette. But, efforts to stifle the fledgling e-cig market are to be expected.

Many people dislike the smell of tobacco smoke. That's not something new, those opposed to smoking have been complaining about the smell for decades. In a letter to the New York Times dated November 10, 1911, Dr. Charles Pease of the Non-Smokers' Protective League of America wrote: “The right of each person to breathe and enjoy fresh and pure air - air uncontaminated by unhealthful or disagreeable odors and fumes is a constitutional right, and cannot be taken away by legislatures or courts, much less by individuals pursuing their own thoughtless or selfish indulgence.”

Just look at the names of some of these anti-smoker groups today. Clean air this, smoke free that. Everything old is new again. In fact, without the smell, the fanatics would have a very difficult time garnering support among non-smokers who comprise the majority of the population.

A case in point. The Japan Tobacco Company recently applied for a Canadian patent on a technique that would practically eliminate the tobacco smell from cigarettes. It was (is) opposed by the anti-smoker crowd on the grounds that it would mislead the public into believing that, since they could no longer smell the tobacco, they were safe from the alleged (and grossly overstated) hazards of secondhand smoke.

To the rabid anti-smoker, that's one strike against the e-cig. It has no noticeable tobacco smell; nothing to raise the ire of non-smokers.

Smoking bans are intended to eliminate smoking in public (and many private) venues. The e-cig is a nicotine delivery system, not a tobacco product. Therefore, it is not subject to the profusion of draconian smoking bans that have sprouted up around the world in the last decade. Smokers can turn on the e-cig in restaurants, bars, casinos, etc., without breaking the law.

Smokers can rely on the e-cig in those venues where smoking is prohibited, while continuing to enjoy the real thing in private and the few places where smoking has not been declared sinful or illegal. This, of course, defeats the real purpose of smoking bans, which is to force smokers to quit. The anti-smoker crowd can't even fall back on their strategy of claiming that bans are necessary to protect workers or “the kids”.

Strike two against the e-cig. It can be used by smokers to circumvent smoking bans without actually quitting.

Another reason why the growing popularity of the e-cig is troublesome to the anti-smoker, is that it's use closely mimics the actions of smoking. In appearance, it resembles a cigarette. In addition, all the physical actions of smoking are present;puffing (drawing the vapour into the lungs); exhaling the vapour which, to the casual observer, looks like smoke; holding or playing with the cigarette, etc. The only thing associated with smoking you don't have to do with an e-cig is light it.

And, most readers will be aware that the very sight of someone smoking is anathema to the anti-smoker. They claim that the sight of someone smoking could encourage those who have quit to return to the nasty habit. Worse, in the eyes of the anti-smoker, is the belief that if the kids should see someone smoking, they might perceive smokers as normal and/or become instantly addicted.

And, if the sight of someone smoking is so dangerous, can the sight of someone pretending to smoke be any less harmful?

Whoops; that's strike three.

And, did I mention that, since the e-cig is reusable, there's no butt left to dispose of; no litter for the anti-smoker crowd to whine about. But, I guess that's immaterial since we're all out of strikes.

And, I've mentioned in other posts the potential adverse financial impact of the e-cig on the anti-smoker crowd.

In fact, if the e-cig manages to penetrate the market, it threatens the financial well being of all parties. The tobacco companies face reduced sales of their tobacco products, the pharmaceutical industry loses their stranglehold on NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapy) products and governments stand to lose billions in direct (and indirect) tobacco taxation currently being extorted from smokers.

The cult-like anti-smoker industry also stands to lose financially. Their funding is dependent on tobacco sales (through the MSA), the pharmaceutical industry (largely through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation) and government largesse (which would likely drop dramatically should tobacco tax revenue decline).

The truth is that the anti-smoker cult perceives the advent of the e-cig as a threat to their very carefully laid plans to denormalize smokers and perhaps force some of them to quit.

So they've placed themselves in the blatantly hypocritical position of demanding a ban on e-cigs, while actively promoting similar products (nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, inhalers, etc.) distributed by their partners in the pharmaceutical industry.

And, now they want to ban e-smoking (called vaping) in the same way they banned cigarette smoking. But, that's for my next post.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The only danger they present is to to bottom line of the cessation manufacturing company that spent millions to get these bans in the first place, thereby undermining the entire purpose of smoking bans. Also, unlike Chantix, they have no mind altering drugs and can be safely used by airline pilots, railroad engineers, truck drivers, and others in jobs where public safety is an issue.