Thursday, October 15, 2009

Action on Smoking and Health (UK) Supports Electronic Cigarettes

Action on Smoking and Health - UK (ASH-UK) has become one of the first anti-smoking organizations to support the continued presence of electronic cigarettes on the market. Unlike its U.S. counterpart (ASH-US), which has called for a ban on electronic cigarettes and has gone so far as to threaten electronic cigarette sellers with the prospect of jail sentences, ASH-UK released a statement indicating its support for the use of electronic cigarettes by smokers who are otherwise unable to quit smoking.

According to the statement: "ASH supports a harm reduction approach to tobacco, that is, we recognise that whilst efforts to help people stop smoking should remain a priority, many people either do not wish to stop smoking or find it very hard to do so. For this group, we believe that products should be made available that deliver nicotine in a safe way, without the harmful components found in tobacco. Most of the diseases associated with smoking are caused by inhaling smoke which contains thousands of toxic chemicals. By contrast, nicotine is relatively safe. Therefore, e-cigarettes, which deliver nicotine without the harmful toxins found in tobacco
smoke, are likely to be a safer alternative to smoking. In addition, e-cigarettes reduce secondhand smoke exposure since they do not produce smoke."

Thus, while ASH-UK believes that regulation of e-cigarettes is reasonable, the group does not join ASH-US in condemning the product and calling for its immediate removal from the market.

Christopher Snowdon has more on ASH UK's position on this issue.

The Rest of the Story

This is wonderful news, as it represents one of the first major anti-smoking groups which has come out in support of allowing electronic cigarettes to remain on the market. Unfortunately, our counterparts in the UK appear to have a much more rational attitude than we do in the States regarding whether or not we would prefer to see people die or not.

Here, the major anti-smoking groups have expressed their support for a policy (banning e-cigarettes) which would result in disease and death for thousands of people, as ex-smokers would be forced to return to cigarette smoking. I'm gratified to see that ASH-UK has the good sense to support a policy which would save lives, rather than cause illness and death.

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