keskiviikko 2. maaliskuuta 2016

Part 6: The children, sort of.

The new tobacco law draft was presented to our national parliament yesterday, including some discussion with very outlandish claims and assumptions.

 - "It's not vapor, it consists of 10-300 nanometer size solid particles"

Which has to be, by far, one of the most absurd claims I have ever seen in the discourse. And the fact that it came from the vice chairperson of the social and health affairs committee that's going to handle the finalized details of the law just makes it so much worse. But.. she didn't stop there.

- "It's clear that the tobacco industry does not want electronic cigarettes under medical regulations, because they would not get on the market in any country"

Except, that's not.. really.. true.
It's well established that's clearly not the case, since BAT already has a product that is approved and it seems that would be the easiest way for tobacco companies to avoid the restrictive tobacco regulation. I'm starting to be seriously worried about the future of health policy here, because if this kind of person is on the committee, there's no way legislation is based on sound science or even factual information.

She drops "tobacco industry" into the discussion regularly and eventually goes on to claim that because it's a nicotine product, it's also a tobacco industry product and their aim is to produce lifetime addiction. The obvious implication, although not explicitly stated, is that electronic cigarettes are a bad thing by default and should be restricted simply because they are made by the "tobacco industry".

As a whole, the discourse is centered on children. Claims of "well, we are not criminalizing these products, only restricting the flavor options to tobacco so that they are not appealing to children, so adults can still choose to use them if they want to do so" go around.

The reasoning behind forcing electronic cigarettes under the identical regulation as regular cigarettes (although in reality, ecigs have much more stringent restrictions due to TPD) is nicotine, specifically gateways and a "new generation of nicotine addicts". So, I started digging on that gateway issue as presented here and it seems it's based on some very glantzian logic:

- A person starts with an electronic cigarettte, learning "how to smoke"
- (remember, only flavor would be tobacco. I can't reconcile how that is a logical way to reduce this "learning" that supposedly happens)
- When the person feels like they are not getting enough nicotine from vaping, they move on to conventional cigarettes

Which has to be a non sequitor on a level only things like discussions on deities achieve, namely cosmological and teleological arguments. The fact is, this discourse really does remind me of religions. Science and logic are used as a smokescreen to lend credibility to hollow arguments with no real substance. I think the resemblance is really striking:

- Because X causes Y, Z also causes Y
- Because Y is caused by X, Z also causes Y

Insert terms relevant to the discussion at hand. The assumption, although again technically unstated, is that electronic cigarettes and smoking cause the exact same level of dependence and addiction. And that because cigarettes are designed to cause maximum amounts of addiction (though not entirely sure if many of these people actually realize this), surely electronic cigarettes are as well.

Obviously these things start to break apart when actual science is considered, namely the fact that it's absolutely untenable to claim tobacco addiction and nicotine dependence are in any way the same thing and that smoking is somehow "better" as a method of nicotine delivery.
Cigarettes do deliver the dose more quickly and efficiently, being designed that way. But it is far less enjoyable in other respects in my opinion, making it's benefits noticeably inferior.
But the fact is that a vaper never needs to turn to smoking to get more nicotine, since they can just use a stronger liquid and enchance their existing behavior instead of taking on another.

The reality is that vaping or smoking is just not something you can reduce to simply being a nicotine delivery method, although many "health" officials seem to think that's somehow justified.
This is both why NRT exists and why it's not very effective.

Sometimes I'm really at a loss, how does one explain the major difference between these products to people who don't understand the mechanics, have any experience in the behavior and have already decided a stance based on nothing more than their personal prejudices.
Incidentally, she claimed that there's only one meta-analysis on the issue of smoking cessation with ecigs and that showed they are less effective than "real" smoking cessation methods.

In short, the discussion is not just reminiscent of religion.. It's more or less exactly the same problem, forcing personal fallacies and fantasies into public policy.

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