As Canada embraces a new age of tobacco harm reduction, the government has produced a guide to vaping that’s been described by Colin Mendelsohn as “sensible”.
It writes: “The Tobacco and Vaping Products Act (TVPA) became law on May 23, 2018. Adults can now legally get vaping products with nicotine as a less harmful option than smoking.”
Among the evidence-based information, the advice includes something for those south of the border in San Francisco: “Vaping products do not contain tobacco and do not involve burning or produce smoke. Except for nicotine, vaping products typically only contain a fraction of the 7,000 chemicals found in tobacco or tobacco smoke, and at lower levels.”
Mendelsohn said: “This is what a sensible, evidence-based national approach to vaping looks like. Supporting smokers who want to quit, while reducing access for young people. Well done Canada.”
Those behind the Organisation for Respiratory Health in Finland’s quit advice were high, drunk or the victims of a head injury when came up with recommendations for vaping and snus use.
They wrote: “The use of electronic cigarettes cannot be recommended. The liquid used in electronic cigarettes and the steam produced by electronic cigarettes contain substances that are harmful to health. We do not yet have enough researched scientific information on the use of electronic cigarettes in quitting smoking.”
And on snus: “Snus contains more nicotine than cigarettes. That is why switching to snus is not the way to quit smoking. Why would you replace one harmful tobacco product with another?”
“Stupid” would also sum up the Italian measure that have halved the number of vapers and increased the number of the nation’s smokers, reported by Philip Poirson – up from 11.7 million last year to 12.2 million adults this one. Over a two-year period ending in 2018, the number of vapers has been almost halved, from 2 to 1.1-million.
How did they manage to be so successful in supporting Big Tobacco? According to Philip: “The mega charges, with more than 4 € per 10 mL vial, the ban on Internet sales and the development of state monopoly under the system of distribution including inhibited the sector.”
Doctor Sharon Cox is a Research Fellow at London South Bank University's Centre for Addictive Behaviours Research, and has edited a series of articles on tobacco harm reduction for Harm Reduction Journal.
Speaking to Kyle Adair from Biomedical Central, Cox talked about how vaping is an essential tool in combatting tobacco addiction within disadvantaged groups in society: “Despite decades of interventions, smoking rates remain high among the most deprived groups in society with little indication of future decline. Tobacco smoking is a leading cause of health inequality and smoking-related deaths are two to three times higher among disadvantaged groups. Quitting is difficult for all smokers and those in the most deprived groups are more highly nicotine dependent, make fewer quit attempts and are less successful when they do try to quit.”
In a week where there was a maddening level of anti-vape propaganda swilling about, it is like a breath of fresh air reading her common sense: “E-cigarettes may have the potential to improve the health and well-being of smokers who are marginalized and deprived.”