by Pippa Starr
6 March, 2021
A call for key stake holders is starting to occur in the debate around e-cigarettes.
Rather than a debate per sae, a conversation is way overdue for the meeting of the minds of all those who can offer practical solutions to finally have an opportunity to really end the smoking pandemic this century, preferably ASAP.
The time for political point scoring and ideological grandstanding must have an end point and that end point is right now.
It has been nearly 60 years since the most confounding report for it’s time was released in the UK that told us that at least one out of every 2 smokers will die prematurely. Since then, we of course have come to learn the effects of smoking are far worse than first realised.
The cold turkey method is one that has been spruiked the most by many to be the best and most effective method yet here we are all these years later facing the situation where we are on track for 1 billion lives to pass prematurely this century due to the harms of smoking. Cold turkey has clearly helped some but it has not eliminated smoking.
Other nicotine replacement therapies have worked in around 5-10% of some desiring to quit smoking, however the one method that is at least 60% effective to assist smokers quitting is caught up in unnecessary debate.
On March 4, 2021 the UK government released an evidence update summary outlining a clear picture of evidence showing that vaping is an at least 60% effective quit method. Sure, it is not a method that is as clean as air but it’s not far off. Educated estimates suggest vaping with nicotine is 95-97% safer than consuming nicotine via a combustible method such as pipe tobacco and cigarettes. It has indeed made its mark in history, as well over 60 million people have found a pathway off the cigarettes with vaping.
However, in various parts around the world there has been a lot of conflict over this issue that for the most part should be a “no brainer”. Vaping with low dosage nicotine has been on the market for 17 years and in that time there has been NO evidence of any user experiencing a disease such as cancer or any other debilitating disease resulting in any death at all!
So why is there any debate around this product?
Those who speak out the loudest against vaping often scream “we didn’t learn the harms of smoking till around 40 years after the facts of smoking emerged, so how can we be so sure?”
That would be an insult to modern science advancement wouldn’t it?
We can solve an awful previously undetected complex virus like Covid19 and create many harm reducing vaccines in less than a year, yet we can’t discover after 17 years any biomarkers that will determine vaping with nicotine will offer premature death equal or worse than the likes of combustible smoking?
In fact, biomarkers are indicating that vapers are in a far better shape than smokers, but right now there is an information war of science papers flying around that make it extremely difficult to pin down the most accurate science about vaping for those who try to follow it. Science papers are often published as average results of others science papers then released as a separate paper that has people caught in a paper loaded vortex of confusion around the safer use of nicotine.
Yet it does not have to be this difficult. There is a war on the safe use of nicotine, but shouldn't we be at war on eliminating the most harmful methods of nicotine consumption?
It has become a massive battle of those who have found a pathway off smoking via safer nicotine delivery methods like vaping and heat not burn products Vs those who are seemingly punch drunk after fighting off Big Tobacco for the last 50 odd years.
They have been at war with each other rather than at war with the underlying problem.
On one side of the war we have people who simply scream it’s all Big Tobacco, we must eliminate them, demolish them and run them beneath the earth. I understand those feelings to well as someone who has experienced losing relatives way to soon to smoking. However, to eliminate a problem we must face the problem.
Since vaping fast became the most popular emerging quit smoking method in the world, Big Tobacco shares saw deep declines. Pardon the pun but it is a dying industry.
Vaping put a proverbial rocket underneath Big Tobacco that shook them into fast tracking far less harmful products like heat not burn devices. In japan alone there have been outstanding results with such devices that are said to be around 90% less harmful than the usual combustible cigarettes, seeing smoking rates plummet faster there than has ever been seen before.
We are also seeing smoking rates plummet up to twice as fast in countries like the UK & USA compared to Australia over recent years due to the popular and available emergence of nicotine vapor products.
Yet there is still a war between those that have fought against big tobacco for many decades and those who simply wish to live longer and help others live longer.
There are those who honestly think by eliminating Big Tobacco from the conversation of less harmful alternatives that it will cause the Big Tobacco problem of combustible products to simply go away.
They have even commissioned the World Health Organisation to become part of that narrative yet here we are in 2021 facing the biggest pandemic in history, this century by seeing 1 billion lives needlessly cut short.
Like it, loath it, or hate it, Big Tobacco needs to be part of the story of how humankind eliminated smoking. They actually want to be that part of the necessary conversation to switch people to far less harmful nicotine consumption methods.
Their livelihoods depend on it!
That may not be of their choice, but their hand has been forced by the emergence of cleaner nicotine delivery products like vaping with nicotine.
There does not appear to be many governments willing to ban sales of harmful Big Tobacco products anytime soon so we should capitalise on that market exposure.
If “payback” is what you’re looking for from Big Tobacco killing your grandmother too soon then together we need to keep forcing their hand, and that it starting to happen, but it can happen faster!
How? We need to force them to expose more products that are less harmful, that are non-combustible and points of sale should be a centre where people can learn how to quit cold turkey and easily access all the products that help smokers quit that do less harm to themselves.
To advocate for anything different then you are only inadvertently promoting the sales of more harmful and deadlier combustible nicotine products!
Those who are for or against safer nicotine products now have the greatest opportunity in history to save more lives than humankind has ever had the chance to do.
By warring with each other we are only promoting deadlier outcomes.
Regardless of money, pre-conceived agendas, or ideology, we owe it to future generations that we could come together and truly make smoking history.
Let’s make the real conversations start today, let’s create actions that have positive generational outcomes because the only scoreboard should be how many lives are saved this century rather than many people are dying because you couldn’t be civil or care about lives.
The war is over, the only war you now have is with yourself deciding if you wish to save lives or not!