Don’t ban e-cigarettes

e-cigarettes

It’s a simple message. But in the public health community the overwhelming consensus is in favour of control over new and innovative health products. The efficacy of those products – whether they may offer a healthier future – is a question of fleeting relevance to these nouveau authoritarians.

Thankfully there are still a number of sensible voices in the debate.

An article in The Conversation on Friday carried a simple and welcome message to health policy makers: don’t ban e-cigarettes:

As we argue in the recent edition of the journal Addiction, the ban on e-cigarettes is ethically questionable. It’s a paternalistic policy that denies adult smokers the right to use a less harmful form of nicotine.

While there is a predictably disappointing aspect to the argument made by the academics who wrote the article (“We oppose laissez faire policies towards e-cigarettes…”) it is refreshing to see a group of public health academics actively arguing against a ban on one of most promising tools yet for those seeking to quit smoking.

I’ve previously written about this life-saving technology, and no academic work I’ve seen yet causes me to doubt the potential of e-cigarettes. Governments should be doing what they can to deregulate the therapeutic goods market to allow this exciting new area of medical technology to thrive.

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