Vaping News

Theatre of the Absurd

In the theatre of life, anti-ecig legislators are doing a good job at coming across as pantomime villains.

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“All the world's a stage,” wrote the Bard, “and in his lifetime a man will play many parts.” Erving Goffman also wrote how people “perform” on a daily basis to communicate their identities. Legislators forming policies that ignore evidence and are driven for ulterior motives are finding themselves critically reviewed by more than just the vaping community.

Take councillor Andre Chabot, commenting on the proposals to ban vaping from public spaces in Calgary. They are “ridiculous,” he said. “We have become so Big Brother in what we do that pretty soon we won’t be able to wear makeup. I don’t know where we’re going to draw the line in what might entice who. E-cigarettes have helped a lot of people that I know get off of the use of tobacco.”

Randy Hillier, the sole voice opposing The Making Healthier Choices Act in Ontario, said: “It’s very clear that these things are the greatest harm-reduction devices that have been created to reduce the harm of tobacco. For the government to be a barrier and impediment, I find tragic and devastating.”

Jesse Kline, writing in the National Post, demands to know if legislators can explain why new restrictions are even necessary. “Since they can be purchased without nicotine, experimenting with e-cigarettes is less likely to lead to nicotine dependence than actual cigarettes,” he says. “Although steps can, and should, be taken to prevent children and adolescents from purchasing e-cigarettes, it can only be seen as positive that underage smokers are using e-cigarettes to kick the habit and that fewer young people are lighting up in the first place.”

In an article that rips apart all of the arguments used to support legislation, he concludes that the restrictions on where vaping can take place, where and how they are sold can only result in a negative outcome.

“It makes little sense to treat tobacco products and e-cigarettes the same, considering that the latter does not contain any tobacco and nothing is being combusted. Nor does the evidence suggest that the electronic devices pose much of a risk to their users or those around them. Quite the contrary: e-cigarettes have the potential to save millions of lives and significantly reduce health-care costs.”

Even down under voices are being raised. Wayne Hall, an Australian substance abuse expert, is pleading for his country to adopt a more moderate approach. Writing in this month’s Addiction journal, his paper looks at the ethical issues surrounding his country’s ridiculous approach.

"We should not have to choose between banning e-cigarettes completely and selling them alongside children's candy," Hall said. “We are told e-cigarettes will only be available to smokers as medicinal products to stop them smoking if clinical trials show them to be safe and effective. However, regulation as medicines may not be the best regulatory model and, until the products are approved as medicines, smokers must obtain them from the black market. Effectively, we are treating e-cigarettes like heroin or cocaine, and stifling any real research on their effectiveness.”

Regardless of the voices, unless the drama comes to a successful conclusion it will result in an early final curtain for far too many smokers.

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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