Tuesday, May 10, 2011

E-cigs are out in the land down under

Sophie Dwyer, Executive Director of the Health Protection Directorate of Queensland (Australia) Health recently advised Queenslanders that:“E-cigarettes are illegal in Australia.”

They are illegal because they contain nicotine. And, nicotine is classified as a dangerous poison. Says Ms. Dwyer: “If used inappropriately – or if children get hold of the liquid nicotine – the consequences can be fatal.”

A May 5, 2011 press release from Queensland Health notes that: “The World Health Organisation’s International Program on Chemical Safety advises that 10mg of liquid nicotine can kill a child within five minutes of them swallowing it.”

It's true of course. Pure nicotine is indeed poisonous. That's why farm workers harvesting tobacco wear protective clothing to protect them from exposure and the green tobacco sickness which it may cause. And, there can be little doubt that precautions are needed to protect children from accidental consumption.

The problem with the warning from Ms. Dwyer and Queensland Health is the means by which they seek to accomplish their goal of “protecting the children”.

The fact is that there are any number of consumer products which could have serious consequences if “used inappropriately” or “if children get hold of them”. These include most common household cleaners, prescription and over the counter drugs, beauty products, etc.

Even my tube of toothpaste contains the warning, “Do not swallow. Children under the age of six should use only a pea sized amount and be supervised while brushing.” There is an additional warning on most labels to get medical help if more than a pea sized amount of toothpaste is accidentally swallowed.

But we don't ban toothpaste, despite the fact that it contains a poison, fluoride. Nor do we ban Easy Off oven cleaner, prescription drugs or aspirin; all of which could cause serious harm or death to children and adults alike if common sense is not applied in their use or if precautions aren't taken to keep them out of reach of inquisitive toddlers.

The electronic cigarette is designed for adult use. The cartridges used with the device contain a dose of nicotine approximating the dosage found in nicotine replacement therapy sold by the pharmaceutical industry.

According to Dwyer, “They (electronic cigarettes) contain vials of liquid nicotine, which is a very dangerous poison.” But, that's a dishonest statement which highlights the disingenuous nature of her argument.

Electronic cigarettes do not contain vials of liquid nicotine; at least, not any I've ever seen.

As noted previously, the cartridges contain measured amounts of nicotine. The liquid vials are purchased separately by “vapers”, as users of the e-cig refer to themselves, looking to save money by refilling their empty cartridges. But, if it's the vials of liquid nicotine which are causing all the concern, then why not simply ban the sale of liquid nicotine and allow the electronic cigarette, with the prepared cartridges, to be sold to those adults who choose to use them?

Another less than honest claim by Ms. Dwyer is that: “There is no evidence e-cigarettes are effective in helping people to quit smoking.”

While there may be no formal clinical trials demonstrating the efficacy of the electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation, there is a substantial body of anecdotal evidence suggesting that the electronic cigarette is an effective tool to help people quit. In addition, many prominent anti-smoking advocates promote the device, both as a harm reduction tool and a means of achieving smoking cessation. .

Even the New Zealand Ministry of Health recently acknowledged publicly that electronic cigarettes are "far safer" than smoking tobacco. So why do they consider the e-cig an unapproved medicine and regard their distribution as an offence?

One statement by a Health New Zealand spokesperson sheds some light on the matter, “It (the electronic cigarette) does raise issues about the social approval of such devices and does run counter to one of the objectives of the [Smokefree Environments] Act and this bill, which is to de-normalise smoking." Uh-huh.

The objective of Health New Zealand is not to rescue smokers from the alleged hazards of smoking; it's to denormalize smoking and turn smokers into social outcasts. The anti-smoker crowd obviously sees the electronic cigarette as an impediment to that goal.

Meanwhile, back in Australia, Ms. Dwyer is busily shilling for the drug barons. “There are a range of safe products people can use to help them quit smoking, including nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, inhalers or sub-lingual (under-the-tongue) tablets.”

Uh-huh. Nicotine is poisonous. Nicotine is a menace to children. Nicotine is evil. You must buy only government approved nicotine from your government approved nicotine pusher. We insist. The law is on our side; because we make the law. And, the law says smokers are to be punished.

According to the press release, “Queensland Health is committed to making Queenslanders Australia’s healthiest people . . .” Uh-huh.

There appears to be no end to the bullshit and bafflegab being spread by the anti-smoker cartel!


Anonymous said...

What if the little darlings decide to eat a NRT plaster or chew some NRT gum etc ??

Why not ban these ??

Anonymous said...

Your analysis is spot on.

But none of the truths which you expound matter if Government is blinkered. If Government connives and conspires corruptly with Tobacco Control, then all is lost. If that is acceptable, then there is no reason that Government should not connive and conspire with ANYBODY (eg. donors to a particular party) in order to make massive profits for those who hold shares in the ANYBODY.

This is not an obvious consequence of the denial of freedom by law to people to offer facilities to smokers, but it is so.

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