UPDATED DECEMBER 14, 12.45 CET.
INCLUDES TRANSLATED REBUTTAL AT BOTTOM OF ORIGINAL TRANSLATED OP-ED ARTICLE.
For the reader’s information before delving into this crap:
- Snus in Sweden saves +3000 lives a year and does not take any lives at all
- Snus in Sweden is used by 300,000 people to no longer smoke. The total amount of smokers in Sweden is 1 million so the fraction who successfully no longer smoke, and/or quit successfully, with snus is very large.
- Snus has a 70% success rate NRT’s (gums, patches etc.) have about 3%-7% success rate depending on who you ask
- E-cig and snus are not “gateway” products to smoking at all. If anything e-cig and snus function as “gateways” away from smoking, and act as protectors against future smoking (but do not protect against nicotine use or nicotine addiction)
- Vaping among young people may well be “infectious” to use a very misleading and unsatisfactory word. The question is what choice between being “infected” by cigarettes or “infected” by e-cigarettes or snus, is the lesser evil choice?
- Kids who try stuff, try stuff. In effect there is a close correlation between youth experimentation and youth uptake of and within several different unhealthy habits. This does not in any way signal causation or a “gateway” slippery slope
- A Non Smoking Generation was started in 1979 as a fantastic initiative. They were intellectually corrupted in the 90’s to also be against “snus”, the globally most successful form of Tobacco Harm Reduction in relation to the population size by a very very wide margin.
- Since 2010’s A Non Smoking Generation are also (very) unfortunately vehemently against e-cig and vaping in all forms
- It is not at all implausible that the anti-THR stance of A Non Smoking Generation in effect means that the organisation today causes more net harm to society from anti-THR, than they generate net benefit from lower smoking
- A Non Smoking Generation show utter disregard for basic principles regarding human rights to best health. Denying adult smokers information on and access to attractive and vastly harm reduced alternatives to smoking means trading the Human Rights of smokers against a perverted version of Human Rights for youth. Human Rights are by definition individual (everyone has them in equal portion), universal (smokers have them just as much as kids and non smokers do) and inalienable (NEVER EVER EVER may you take from one to give to another)
Horse trading in Human Rights as A Non Smoking Generation are proposing below in order to protect youth, is in fact violating three separate sets of Human Rights for smokers and those who have already successfully transitioned to Low Harm products.
The right to best attainable health is out the window
The right to autonomy in making personal risk choices is out the window
The right to correct and balanced information on such choices is out the window
”Youth tricked into nicotine addiction”
Who does the tobacco industry think are attracted by nicotine flavors like tutti-frutti, raspberry licorice, toffee, toffee and banana cream? Yes, you read that right. These are not flavors of ice cream or candy. These are the tasty liquids available for e-cigarettes, today the cheapest way to consume large amounts of nicotine, writes Helen Stjerna, CEO A Non Smoking Generation.
Those who use e-cigarettes are learning to like smoke, and just as with other smoking connects the brain use to reward and satisfaction, which leads to a nicotine addiction, writes Helen Stjerna, A Non Smoking Generation. Photo: Erik Nylander / TT
DEBATE | E-CIGARETTES
In February this year, the Supreme Administrative Court ruled that e-cigarettes are not a medical class products, and therefore they should be regulated in the Swedish law on the basis of the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive.
The state investigator then proposed a fast track with a proposal for a law that would take effect on 1 October. The proposal included, among other things, the 18-year limit, a permit rquirement for the sale, exposure bans, and bans on attractive flavors.
October 1st has now passed and it is now urgent. Already we see in the statistics that more and more young people start smoking e-cigarettes. In the 2015 survey of schoolchildren’s drug habits of CAN (Swedish Council for Alcohol and Other Drugs) the negative trend is obvious.
The proportion of boys in second year high school who have used (tried) e-cigarettes increased a full 10 percentage points in just one year, from 26 percent in 2014 to 36 percent in 2015. The corresponding figure for girls was an increase of 5 percentage points, 21-26 percent in 2015. Perhaps it is more worrying that also more and more students in grade nine are using (have tried) e-cig.
According to the survey most young people say that they start with e-cigarettes out of curiosity. The young people also states themselves that they continue because it is cheap and easily accessible. Using (trying) e-cig often leads on to regular cigarettes. According to the World Health Organization the risk that a young person will start smoking regular cigarettes is more than doubled for those who first started with e-cigarettes.
That our government continues to allow these products to be freely available is incomprehensible. Why can a 12-year-old buy these nicotine products as perfectly legal, enticingly equipped with tutti frutti flavor?
Research shows that nicotine inhibits brain development in young people and impairs cognitive ability. The damage can in particular be seen in impaired working memory and impaired attention. The side effects of the over 8000 flavorings that e-juices can contain as reported to the WHO, it is not yet fully known by anybody.
As so often with new nicotine products, we understand the consequences too late. But our young people are not waiting, just because the community are watching from the sidelines. Below we list three of the biggest problems that e-cigarettes bring to our youth.
- E-cigarettes – a gateway to nicotine use. Those who use e-cigarettes are learning to like smoke, and just as with other smoking connects the use to brain to reward and satisfaction, which leads to nicotine dependence. Both local and global institutions indicate that youth who trial and use of e-cigarettes to a greater extent also use or will use regular tobacco in the future.
- E-cigarettes – as infectious as cigarettes. A survey Novus has made on behalf of A Non Smoking Generation in spring 2016 show that 9 out of 10 surveyed children between the ages of 14 and 18 indicate friends as the main reason to start smoking. 8 out of 10 say they do it to fit in. Smoking is contagious and in many cases, it is at school that the infection is spread.
- E-cigarettes – marketed freely to children and adolescents. Product Design and campaigns aimed directly at children and adolescents. In many cases it is difficult to determine whether it is e-cigarettes, candy or toys that are sold. The tobacco industry (!) are also present at festivals and youth events, where young people are encouraged to sell and market
That there is still a hole in the legislation where manufacturers and sellers of e-cigarettes can freely market themselves directly to young people should be seen as nothing more than an abject failure. The regulation of e-cigarettes is therefore a necessity that must as soon as possible before more young people damaged by the effects of nicotine. This is not candy that we are talking about here.
We want the government and schools to immediately address the sale and use of e-cigarettes.
We want to see the following:
1 \. E-cigarettes to be equated with the tobacco with regards bans on exposure, monitoring of sales and the age limit.
2 \. Young people are sensitive to price and a price increase on all tobacco should therefore be made.
3 \. All schools should have an action plan for e-cigarettes and introduce an e-cigarette ban in schools.
Helen Stjerna, Secretary General
A Non Smoking Generation
REBUTTAL December 14, 2016
“E-cigarettes are a route away from tobacco”
The campaign against nicotine use leads to the wrong results, since it is tobacco use that is harmful to health. E-cigarettes are a way for youngsters to get away from tobacco, says Ubbe Strihagen, president of Vapoteket, in a rebuttal.
REBUTTAL | E-CIGARETTES
Helen Stjerna from A Non Smoking Generation (ANSG) conflates smoking tobacco and e-cigarettes (SvD 11/12). More than two million people use tobacco in Sweden today. It is well established that 1 in every 2 tobacco smokers die prematurely. Tobacco smoking is the largest avoidable health problem in Sweden.
E-cigarettes are a new nicotine-replacement product. Several studies, from among others the British Health Authority Public Health England, show that e-cigarettes reduce the risk by 95 percent compared to tobacco cigarettes. It is not the Nicotine that is the problem with dangerous tobacco smoking. The risks of e-cigarettes can be compared with drinking coffee, soft drinks and other things that do affect the body, but that compared to tobacco smoking are relatively harmless.
Many are now using e-cigarettes to quit smoking tobacco. That’s why e-cigarettes are quickly gaining popularity. Unfortunately, many young begin to smoke tobacco, despite all the information efforts. Our common challenge is to get all users to abandon combustible tobacco.
Thus far, I think we agree with each other. However, the ANSG continue to pursue a misleading campaign against the use of nicotine, when tobacco use is what is dangerous to health. In order to achieve better public health, focus must be to get both youth and adults not to smoke deadly tobacco. Not to limit the use of nicotine, for example in gum, patches or e-liquid. Furthermore, ANSG claim that e-cigarettes lead to tobacco smoking. This is clearly misleading. There are no reliable studies to support the claim. On the contrary, we see that e-cigarettes leads habitual smokers away from tobacco. That is why it is important to continue having flavored e-liquids. Without flavors the products become tasteless, and then smokers will stick with their tobacco cigarettes.
The Supreme Administrative Court during this year ruled that e-cigarettes with nicotine will be sold openly in regular stores. We welcome, as ANSG do, responsible legislation that allows for good protection and control of products to ensure the health of users. We therefore propose the following regulatory options:
- Regulate the age limit for all nicotine products. All reputable companies in the industry have already implemented this on their own self-regulation. There is already a general rule with an 18-year limit for nicotine, but we would appreciate a regulatory clarification.
- Clear list of ingredients on the products and quality guarantees. Mandate requirements that clearly show the contents of the products, but do not impose any restriction on harmless flavorings. We have to be allowed to use the same flavors that are allowed for the rest of the food industry.
- Regulations on promotion. Allow marketing of these products in order to inform and encourage current smokers of tobacco cigarettes to switch to e-cigarettes in order to achieve improved public health.
Ubbe Strihagen, CEO Vapoteket
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