Do E Cigarettes Normalise Smoking?

Mark Drakeford (Welsh politician) has recently spoken out against e cigarettes, which is perhaps a move that the industry do not need at the moment. He says that allowing e cigarettes to be used normalises smoking and makes it seem more glamorous than it is. He claims that actually there should be tighter laws and regulations surrounding e cigarettes and that this normalisation of smoking is a strong case as to why that should be the case.

He spoke to BBC Wales on their Sunday Politics show came in light of the Tobacco Products Directive debate, which as we know keeps going and going – with no sign of it being stopped any time soon. The argument is that the use of electronic cigarettes makes smoking seem more acceptable and therefore people could be led to seeing tobacco cigarettes in the same way.

You’ll have seen on our pages that we have covered this on-going debate for some time now, so feel free to read back on our past articles if you feel you need to be bought up to speed a little with this.

Going by what Mr Drake told Sunday Politics, he was electronic cigarettes to be treated the same way here as they are in New Zealand. ” “If you lived [there] you can only buy an e-cigarette at a pharmacy because they regard them entirely as to be governed as a health issue and as a medicine.”

We know that this is exactly the opposite of how electronic cigarettes are currently used and indeed, were designed to be used – they’re a consumer product that offers a healthier alternative to traditional tobacco smoking and should be treated as such. They’re not a medicine or something that offers to cure at ailment so it seems alien to treat them as medicine.

We know that all of the above is already being considered by the European Commission, so it’s not really anything new – but he went a step further than this and suggested that electronic cigarettes should be treated the same as tobacco.

If you have been following the debate about electronic cigarettes and how they should be classified as medicine you’ll see that the medicinal argument has someway fallen by the wayside in recent months which is why everyone now seems to be jumping on the ‘treat electronic cigarettes as tobacco’ argument. Former ASH director Clive Bates recently tweeted links to a proposal that suggested they be treated the same as tobacco products because they contain nicotine

Electronic Cigarettes Do Not Re-Normalise Smoking

We know that actually the number of people using electronic cigarettes is risking and the number of traditional tobacco cigarette smokers is falling – which in itself is evidence that electronic cigarettes do not encourage people to start smoking properly again. ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) released a report to say that the number of smokers using electronic cigarettes has risen (3% in 2010 to 11% last year). The BBC have recently published a report to say that the number of smokers in the UK has decreased – 26% in 2002 to 20% in 2013 – which is great news. The ASH website has all of the details and full facts and figures if you want to take a look.

If course we don’t know that cloud electronic cigarettes is actually causing people to give up – the electronic cigarette industry as a whole steers well clear of that claim. But it does show that the theory about them normalising smoking is wrong because the number of people who smoke in the UK is decreasing. Surely if electronic cigarettes were causing people to smoke then the number would be on the increase?