Vaping News

Opposition To Prescribed Vapes

Professors Jørgen Vestbo, Andrew Bush, and Jonathan Grigg have written in the British Medical Journal to detail their opposition to ecigs being made available for prescription

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The British Medical Journal has asked “Should e-cigarettes be licensed as medicines?” Balancing the replies, it allows one person to speak out in favour of tobacco harm reduction, but gets Professors Jørgen Vestbo, Andrew Bush, and Jonathan Grigg to attack the forward thinking measure.

There is already enough nicotine addiction,” state Vestbo, Bush, and Grigg as if vaping is increasing the number of nicotine users – running against the evidence accumulated over the last ten years.

For decades, smoking rates in the UK have been declining, and few teenagers see themselves becoming smokers,” they continue, forgetting to highlight that the decline increased as vaping boomed in the United Kingdom in both adult and teen smokers. Worse, they deny that quitting increased over the last ten years.

Begrudgingly, they admit that switching from smoking to vaping would result in reduced harm and lower incidents of respiratory disease but argue that switching is not how people should quit – despite vaping now the most popular form of quitting in the UK and research showing smokers find quitting around three times easier than using traditional approaches.

No, they bang the gong for the old approaches that failed members of the Planet of the Vapes forum so many times until they discovered electronic cigarettes: “We have an arsenal of evidence-based tools, such as further increases in taxation and decreased availability, that can further reduce smoking prevalence with far less risk of known—and unknown—adverse health effects.”

Unknown health effects? Vestbo, Bush, and Grigg appear to want to ignore the evidence of over ten years of use in favour of unknowns, a clear example of the perfect being the enemy of the good.

Their words insult researchers who have demonstrated the efficacy of vaping, calling it “remarkably poorly studied”, including work by University College London, reports by Public Health England, and gold standard research led by Professor Peter Hajek.

They point to the Bloomberg-funded talking points:

  • Promotes dual use
  • Debunked links to Evali
  • Tobacco company link ad-homs
  • Knocking the 95% safer figure
  • Toxins – without reference to comparative levels
  • Marketed to teens
  • A teen gateway effect

But then is anybody surprised that people from the European Respiratory Society continue to propagate such lies and myths?

Fortunately, Nicholas Hopkinson, a professor of respiratory medicine and the chair of Action on Smoking and Health provides a response, saying the measure should be welcomed.

Around 3.9 million people in the UK use e-cigarettes, two thirds of whom are now ex-smokers. Vaping by people who have never smoked remains rare, and in children and young people it is almost exclusively carried out among those who have been smokers or still are,” he says.

Hopkinson concludes: “There are still more than six million people who smoke in the UK: medicinal licensing of e-cigarettes could help many of them to live longer, healthier lives.”


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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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