Reasonable tobacco control actions would show some concern for health

It never ceases to amaze me how so many tobacco control measures and arguments seem to ignore the fact that smoking is unhealthy.

For instance, it is no secret that when you are trying to get someone to substitute behaviors or products, it is not enough simply to say it is healthier. (Not that we can see many instances of this happening either other than in their indefatigable promotion of abstinence).

Though some people who are acutely aware of health effects might switch to an alternative, most people require some more immediately attractive incentive such as making the alternative cheaper. In this regard, there seems to be an army working very hard to eliminate taxation loopholes that allow any safer tobacco products (such as smokeless tobacco) to be any cheaper than cigarettes.

Another pernicious move is the assault on flavoured products, all the more reprehensible since it is argued as a childhood issue. Again, if you want someone to make a switch, make the switch attractive. Currently there are moves on to ban flavours in ecigarettes (see here) just as there has been in the smokeless products. In fact, the general disapproval of flavoured products has NJOY cowed and following suit (link here). And of course, in what sounds like a call to responsibility but is more likely a fear of falling behind in the marketplace, they are asking other ecig companies to join them in this foolish and self serving ploy.

Think of this. If you are a smoker and like most smokers, enjoy the experience, why in the world would you switch to a product that is not marketed as being any healthier, that tastes no better than your current product and is no cheaper.

In summary, to make a dent in smoking related disease and death, policies regarding alternative healthier products need to be presented in the following way:

1. Safer alternatives should be labelled as such.
2. Safer alternatives should be cheaper.
3. Safer alternatives should as or more pleasant to use than smoking.
4. Safer alternatives should be allowed in some places where smoking is not.

Is that so hard?

-PLB

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