Nov. 11th, 2011

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NYT: "E-Cigarettes Help Smokers Quit, but They Have Some Unlikely Critics"

“It boggles my mind why there is a bias against e-cigarettes among antismoking groups,” Dr. Siegel said. He added that it made no sense to fret about hypothetical risks from minuscule levels of several chemicals in e-cigarettes when the alternative is known to be deadly: cigarettes containing thousands of chemicals, including dozens of carcinogens and hundreds of toxins.

It really does boggle my mind as well, though Big Tobacco is... big, and these are distributed by lots of little companies outside of the usual corporate sphere. Anyone can extract nicotine and dissolve it in propylene glycol, or copy a fairly simple electronic blueprint. I've seen little general reaction to the things in this country apart from official support of them by various medical sources - for the sensible reason that smoking tobacco is very bad for you, e-cigarettes are not provably bad for you at all, and they encourage people to stop smoking tobacco. This is not a difficult public health decision surely? Hopefully anti-smoking groups in the UK don't decide to follow a US lead here.

I have had one for a couple of weeks now, and have not had a single cigarette during that time. It wasn't hard at all. I still get to flood my system with lovely nicotine, delivered through a fast-acting inhaler, just without the smoke aspect. The major disadvantage has been regaining a sense of smell and realising quite how much people on the Underground actually stink.

Yes, they obviously don't wean people off nicotine - that is not what they are meant for. They are not, in fact, smoking cessation products. They are alternative nicotine delivery products, a function that they perform very well. I'm not in fact bothered whether health charities and the government choose to support them or not (ideally they would not tax them into oblivion, but they could hardly get more expensive than actual fags) but I do expect them not to put any more bars on them than they do actual tobacco, for heaven's sake.

I am not even going to address the "but it teaches children to smoke!" argument because it is idiocy.

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