Most smokers want to give up smoking. But most of those who want to give up fail to do so. Yet the Tobacco Control Industry - ASH and its associates in any number of local NHS "smoke free" bodies - persist in denying the value of harm reduction strategies and insist on abstinence or nothing.
And this approach means that people are dying unnecessarily - here's the facts (well American facts):
i) There are approximately 46 million tobacco smokers in the United States.
ii) While three-quarters say they want to quit smoking, and about one-third try to quit each year, fewer than 10% succeed.
iii) The FDA-approved smoking cessation aids simply do not work: They improve quit rates only minimally, if at all, therefore …
iv) About 450,000 American tobacco nicotine addicts die prematurely each year from smoking-related causes.
You see, while it is the nicotine that we get addicted to, it isn't the nicotine that kills us. It's the smoke. Which means that if we remove the smoke, we reduce the harm and save lives.
We see tobacco control people wanting to ban e-cigarettes - despite their proven effectiveness as a smoking cessation aid. And to ban smokeless tobacco products like snus despite the almost complete absence of any evidence indicating harm.
As the author who pointed out the facts above observes:
Despite the demonstrated benefits of harm reduction, and the lack of efficacy of the approved pharmaceutical products (such as patches, gum, and medications), public health spokespersons, governmental and private, adhere to the mantra, “there is no safe tobacco product.”
While inexcusable, their rationales for such unscientific policies understandably derive from deep-seated mistrust of tobacco companies and their phony promotion of ostensibly “reduced risk” products like “light” or filter-tip cigarettes.
But this “won’t be fooled again” policy — ignoring the fate of the millions of addicted smokers — enforces an abstinence only, “quit or die” approach.
But rather than grasping the opportunities presented by a harm reduction approach to tobacco control, the New Puritan fundamentalists focus instead on ineffective, unproven controls such as plain packaging.
And as a result people who might not have died are dying.