Shirley Angry, caller from England, explained her disgust on BBC 5Live: “It smelt so bad, Nicky,” she said. “I felt like hitting him with my handbag.” She was referring to the halfwit she’d seen vaping in a doctor’s waiting room. “I was looking about for the person wearing the awful aftershave,” she added. “And I saw him smoking his electric cigarette thing with a smug look on his face.” The pitch became shriller: “Children were looking at him, Nicky! Children were looking at him!”
“It’s a very divisive issue this,” announced Nicky Campbell as he introduced Professor John Britton. Britton, a Professor of Epidemiology and Director of the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies at the University of Nottingham, is the UK’s foremost expert on all matter smoking and vaping.
“For the most part, as some of your contributors have said,” explained Prof John, “not using ecigs near others is a matter of courtesy.”
“E-cigs face ban for ‘re-normalising smoking’,” roared Rupert Murdoch’s Sky News. “Wales' Health Minister Mark Drakeford said e-cigarettes were a ‘gateway’ to deadly tobacco.”
"We have worked so hard in Wales to try and bear down on the harm that smoking does,” said Drakeford, “and allowing e-cigarettes to be used in the way they currently are risks undoing the progress that has been made.”
Drakeford described the main problem faced by the Welsh trying to implement the ban on smoking: they can’t tell the difference between a cigarette and a vaping device. His argument displays his level of ignorance of Second and Third Generation more than anything else. He also believed that this “normalisation” is compounded by flavours being used to target children by irresponsible manufacturers.
Professor Britton felt the same on the radio: “I disagreed with everything he [Drakeford] said. If you see the second and third generation devices it’s very obvious that they aren’t smoking. The only normalising taking place is that of using nicotine in a way that doesn’t involve smoking.”
It’s an opinion backed up by the latest findings from the annual UK research: “The Ash survey highlights that 2.6million have now used [vaping] as a way out – this is the only gateway,” concluded Britton.
With no evidence for the gateway effect or luring in children to justify the ban, Drakeford is left with potential dangers to vapers and second-hand vape.
“The evidence is just not there regarding hazards to others,” continued Britton. The professor is a staunch believer in the harm reduction benefits of vaping. He has seen ecigs being used in hospital wards and supports this action despite an NHS ban (as reported on POTV).
Britton expanded: “We’ve got to get real, the majority smoke to get nicotine and they’d rather do it without smoking. The patches don’t replace the hand to mouth motion and people are addicted to the rigmarole of smoking. Over the months and years of smoking you develop the enjoyment of the other aspects of smoking – the ritual.”
Time and again, research is proving the limited dangers posed by vaping, the success of ecigs as a quit tool and the lack of a gateway effect. So, when the BBC reports: “ministers say it is a ‘balance of risk’ and will stop children smoking,” most vapers will wonder how?