Saturday, 23 June 2012

A reminder how the Tobacco Control Industry is killing people...


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.



Jay said...

I truly hate the terms "premature death" or "die prematurely."

Firstly, there is no guarantee to any length of life. We have average lifespans -- global, national, regional, wealthy vs poor, etc. But those are not guarantees. Whether you live for one minute or 100 years is irrelevant. It is simply the time of your death.

Secondly, there is the issue of defining "mature." What would be a mature death? At which age are you acceptably allowed to die? More importantly, who decides that acceptable age of death?

Thirdly, the figures for these "premature deaths" include people well into their 80s, some of whom never smoked. But they are included in the figures because the causes of death have been linked to smoking.

I truly wish someone would precisely define what a premature death is. At the same time, it might be terrifying if anyone did.

Anonymous said...

What makes you think most smokers want to give up smoking? I dont.

Pat Nurse MA said...

I concur Anon as a lifelong smoker. I do not want to quit and get fed up of the Tobacco Control Industry speaking for me. It doesn't represent smokers. It represents Smokerphobics.

And check out the violent deaths of smokers directly because of the deliberate stigmatisation of the Tobacco Control Industry

Don't fall for the propaganda Simon. you are better than that.

Smokers who want to quit feel that way usually because they are being bullied or harassed into quitting and think they should not that they want to.

Those that want to quit, as you demonstrated, do so relatively easily if quitting really is something they want to do.

Those that don't will always struggle because their heart is not in it.

There should be some consideration for those who don't want to quit - about 25% of the population currently excluded, ignored and abused with Govt backing. It is just plain wrong.

Clive Bates said...

Simon - I agree they are killing people through their harm-increasing dogma. I'm not sure whether it is complacency, contempt or incompetence, but they are ignoring all the evidence and taking the political path of least resistance. Have a look at my piece on Death by regulation - the EU the ban on low risk oral tobacco, looking at the science, ethics and law of this. But also note particularly the aloof and unaccountable attitude of the health groups towards this, as discussed in the comments.

Clive Bates said...

There is pretty good survey data suggesting about two-thirds report they would like to give up. That doesn't necessarily mean they are trying to or will do. Also, about 80% say they wish they had never started. More than 50% believe they will quit within a couple of years, but only about 6% of smokers quit in any two year period. These stats show why harm reduction should be taken so seriously. They reflect the underlying issue - addiction.

Anonymous said...

It's certainly been very handy for polluting industry to have been able to claim that even a whiff of tobacco smoke negates - by somehow superseding to instead miraculously cause itself - the harm of billions of tons of damaging and often carcinogenic industrial substances to which we're all subjected without choice, and which causes cancer in non-smoking Beluga whales and other animals also subjected to these...

And I'm another of those who hasn't been guilted into claiming that I want to quit, because I don't, not even with the toxic, carcinogenic additions of the GM, chemically and toxic metal-loaded RIP cigarette, which is all we now can get in Canada, rather than our old, safe natural tobacco cigarettes, for the sake of corporate expediency and control, pardon me, our very own health and safety.