This site was originally created for the purpose of the expression of my concerns over the amount of “spin” and either half truths, or plain misinformation, coming from both sides of the Tobacco argument. I never held any doubt of the fact that smoking was bad for you, but I was concerned with the way that our government was wasting money and often not directly tackling the problem, while the anti-smoking groups used blown up statistics out of context to push their agenda. You can read my original letter starting my My Concerns.
The My Concerns section of this site, which then leads onto Smoking Alternatives was where it all started. My initial research had taught me that there were already several alternatives to smoking available, though most still carried some risk to them (usually an increased risk of cancer) and many had been either outright, or effectively banned in Australia. As a long term smoker myself trying to quit, this research was quite personal to my own battle. After almost 15 years of smoking cigarettes, I finally managed to stop while writing all of this – using electronic cigarettes. So happy was I with this new found alternative, I spread my wings and tried to contact as many like minded people as I possibly could and read every study I could find to learn more about the safety and bio-chemical mechanisms of the product.
That’s when I learnt that not everybody seems to understand the science behind e-cigs, and were often pushing against them for the wrong reasons. Despite the anecdotal evidence of it helping 100,000′s of people across the world stop, or at the very least, reduce their smoking, governments across the world are being pressured to ban them. Conspiracy theories abound about the part that the pharmaceutical industry might play in all of this (due to effect it will have on existing Nicotine Replacement Therapies revenue) but the truth is they are a safer alternative to any other use of tobacco, and carry significantly less risk than some approved cessation aids such as Champix.
More research needs to be done, but as the saying goes “You can’t put the genie back in the bottle”. Tens of thousands of Australians have either tried “vaping” (the colloquial term for the usage of electronic cigarttes) or are now regular “vapers” and to take that alternative away from them now would push many back to smoking again. In my mind, this would be criminal.
There is mounting evidence that vaping is safe, in the exactly the same way that using nicotine patchs or lozenges are safe. The biggest issues standing in the way is the safe of handling liquid nicotine and the quality control of the liquid’s nicotine content. Both of these could easily be solved if Australia leads the way. It seems crazy to me that I currently order my nicotine from China, when Philip Morris is 20 minutes drive away. It also seems crazy that 1,000′s of Australian vapers currently order their products from a New Zealand company. One of New Zealand’s own quit smoking organisation, End Smoking NZ, is supporting their use while ours are ignoring the evidence. Let Australia join New Zealand in leading the world in reducing the health and social costs of tobacco smoking.
A recent ad campaign tells us to “Swap – Don’t Stop” when it comes to losing weight. I argue the same should be applied to long term smokers who have tried everything else and failed. Education is the key – and the facts are vaping is 99% safer than smoking to the user, and 99.9% safer to those around them compared to second hand tobacco smoke.
Finally from a social perspective, the smoker who becomes a vaper won’t have to feel like an outcast anymore. It’s common courtesy to make sure those around you don’t mind, but it can be done inside and around others without your habit becoming there problem!
Remember, nobody needs to “lose out” here, and there is a lot we could all gain:
1. We get the chance to grow the current cottage e-cigarette industry into a world leader.
2. The government (and as a result all of us) get the GST revenue currently lost to personal importation.
3. The health and associated costs of smoking to society will be dramatically reduced.
4. No more second hand smoke.
5. Universities benefit by having a large sample size to lead the world in clinical studies.
6. The pharmaceutical industry has another source of revenue to balance the losses in current NRT sales.
7. If the local tobacco industry starts producing liquid nicotine, that allows them to help the problem, instead of just being the problem. All while staying in the business of growing tobacco. It also gives them a chance to use their political and financial clout to finally change their image of being a “Merchant of Death” and help reduce the damage they have caused.
Original article source | http://ataca.org.au/smokescreen/just-the-facts