Monday, February 23, 2015

Anti-Smoking Groups' Demonization of Electronic Cigarettes is Leading to Devastating Consequences

According to an article in the Gloucester (UK) Citizen, the health scare over electronic cigarettes has led many adoption agencies in the UK to prohibit anyone who uses e-cigarettes from adopting children. In fact, some districts preclude anyone who has used an e-cigarette in the past 12 months from adopting.

According to the article:

"A couple has been stopped from adopting a child after the would-be father was seen smoking an e-cigarette. The decision by social workers at Staffordshire County Council came after the pair had passed a long series of tests to qualify as parents. They were told they could not adopt if either of them had used an e-cigarette in the past 12 months – despite experts saying that ‘vaping’ poses little or no threat to children in the home. The couple told The Mail on Sunday: “When there are so many children desperate for a family and a stable home, to put up such trivial barriers is ridiculous.” According to its investigation at least 13 councils in England ban e-cigarette users from fostering or adopting young children." ... 

"Abigail’ and ‘Brian’, who do not want to give their real names, approached the council in December 2013 after several failed IVF attempts costing over £20,000. By last September, having undergone medicals and interviews, and having proved they were of sound character and financially capable of raising a child, the pair thought they were on track to adopt. But when a social worker saw Brian using an e-cigarette, everything changed. Brian, 45, said: ‘By then I’d stopped smoking completely and hadn’t had a real cigarette in months. I was using e-cigarettes as a cessation aid, to ease the nicotine cravings.’"

The Rest of the Story

This story really turns my stomach. Moreover, it is just heartbreaking. How misguided this policy is. How devastating the consequences. Due to the anti-smoking groups' dissemination of false and misleading information about the hypothetical consquences of vaping, actual harm is being done to many people.

This story reveals that not only is this harm being done to smokers who have decided to continue smoking rather than engage in a behavior that many health advocates say is as dangerous as smoking, but serious harm is also being done to smokers who have successfully quit using electronic cigarettes.

In other words, smokers who quit successfully using e-cigarettes are actually being punished for using e-cigarettes rather than an "FDA-approved" method.

The sad reality is that despite the most important ethical principle of medicine and public health being "to do no harm," the anti-smoking movement is doing tremendous harm, both to the public's health and to the lives of many ex-smokers.

That health is hardly the paramount value in tobacco control in 2015 is demonstrated by the fact that it's not the fact that you quit that is important, it's that you quit "the right way."

1 comment:

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