Some tobacco control activists are so blinded by a commitment to destroy the tobacco industry that they can't see the potential of a life-saving, harm reduction alternative, E-Cigarettes. The absurdity of allowing the widespread availability of the most dangerous consumer product ever invented while effectively banning a much safer substitute defies logic and will only protect the incumbent cigarette trade. Yet this is what some activists are advocating.
A federal parliamentary inquiry on e-cigarettes is under way and a Senate inquiry is about to begin shortly based on a bill submitted to the Senate last week. Tobacco control activists want to leave the regulatory framework now in place unchanged, preventing the use of E-Cigarettes in Australia.
Policy should be based on evidence, not fear mongering, exaggeration, misrepresentation of evidence and rhetoric. Most importantly, any assessment of Vaping should be compared with the risks of smoking, which vaping is designed to replace.
E-Cigarettes have only a tiny fraction of the risk of smoking. It is well known that almost all the harm from smoking is caused by the products of combustion, which are absent from vaping.
Claims that the widely accepted view that E-Cigarettes are 95 per cent less harmful than smoking is based on guesswork is a misrepresentation of the comprehensive reviews by Public Health England and the UK Royal College of Physicians which arrived at this estimate after reviewing the published scientific evidence including chemical analysis of E-Cigarette vapour, toxins measured in users and clinical trials. The college said: "Although it is not possible to estimate the long-term health risks associated with E-Cigarettes precisely, the available data suggest that they are unlikely to exceed 5 per cent of those associated with smoked tobacco products, and may well be substantially lower than this figure."