A puff for Ireland

Yesterday’s post [Lethal vaping] was a moment of personal revelation — I hadn’t realised just what a deregulated, and dangerous madhouse the world of e-cigarettes is. As post it seemed to go quite well — the statporn was definitely up.

Today, there’s something of a “next episode”, found in today’s Irish Times:

A Harvard professor has called on the Government to show leadership in the EU by regulating electronic cigarettes as medical devices.

Prof Gregory Connolly, director of the Center for Global Tobacco Control at Harvard, argues that if unregulated, e-cigarettes could be the “panacea” for the tobacco industry’s woes by discouraging quitting and encouraging children to take up smoking…

“The reason why I came here is to tell this nation – you need to go in and show leadership within the EU. You’ve got to pass a law here regulating [e-cigarettes] as medical devices,” he told The Irish Times .

Which would be a way forward, not just in Ireland, either.

Let me recall a quotation from yesterday’s NY Times:

MEPs have rejected calls for a blanket ban on the sale of e-cigarettes across the EU.

However, under a compromise deal, strict limits will be placed on the amount of nicotine they contain, and individual EU member states will be able to introduce a national ban if they see fit.

If three or more member states chose that path, it could trigger an EU-wide ban.

By no coincidence, the Irish Times piece seems to incorporate, without acknowledgement, material from that NY Times one.

As I understand:

  • Denmark found e-cigarettes contained an unapproved form of nicotine, and banned them: that was eight years back.
  • The Dutch public health institute … published a policy paper claiming that electronic cigarettes are as harmful as ordinary cigarettes, warning they are addictive and contain poisonous substances. [Daily Telegraph, 28th November 2013].
  • Local authorities, where they have the power, have banned them. Even in Britain major chains, such as Wetherspoons, ban them.

The issue is not whether they help or hinder the reduction of smoking. It is that, as matters stand, it’s all a bit Wild West out there. Of which, no doubt, the nicotine narco-traders approve:

If unregulated, e-cigarettes could recruit a new generation of cigarette smokers for the industry. A recent Utah study showed that 9 per cent of children in the 12th grade (about 17 years old) were smoking e-cigarettes and 3 per cent cigarettes and they were “transferring over” to cigarettes, [Prof Connolly] said.

Bringing it back home

No government, no political party, seems to have wholly clean hands. It’s just that Tory hands are rather more nicotine-stained than most:

  • Lynton Crosby, the Tory guru, had (perhaps still has, through his firm of Crosby Textor) a strong paid interest in tobacco retailing.
  • David Cameron refused, repeatedly, to admit he had lobbied by Crosby on plain packaging.
  • Several senior Tories, the most famed being Ken Clarke, have close ties to the fag-pushers.
  • David Lidington and other Tory MPs were guests of Japan Tobacco International at the Chelsea Flower Show — then repaid their obligation by voting against smoking controls.

Last word to Professor Connolly:

“The reason why I came here is to tell this nation – you need to go in and show leadership within the EU. You’ve got to pass a law here regulating [e-cigarettes] as medical devices,” he told The Irish Times .

Because of the smoking ban, the State had the “moral virtue” and the “leadership” to do this, he said.

 

 

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Filed under Conservative family values, health, Ireland, Irish Times, sleaze., Tories.

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