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WHY SMOKING IS HERE TO STAY

Thanks to government’s paranoid warnings and media hype, smokers who might make the rational choice to pick safer alternatives over burning tobacco are now more likely to be killed by conventional cigarettes.The world’s five major tobacco companies are thriving, profitable and increasing sales, despite many predictions of the industry’s decline.

Smoking is not going away, and neither is the cigarette industry dying.Although the number of cigarettes purchased each year has been dropping, tobacco companies have been making more money. The rising price of a pack is a major factor in the tobacco companies’ growing profits.Cigarettes are legally sold in virtually every country in the world and, after decades of understanding the harm caused by smoking, they remain not only legal but highly accessible. Avoiding burning tobacco is the single greatest preventative health measure human beings can take, given the diseases conventional cigarettes cause. Governments know this but seem to want to maintain status quo by keeping cigarettes in the market. In China for example, the cigarette market is monopolized by the state.

If smokers switched to snus or e-cigarettes, it would prevent almost all of the harm from smoking. But the reaction to these alternatives has been silence at times, outright suppression at others. There have been plenty of lies to accompany this bizarre smear campaign. Instead of pretending vaping is nearly as dangerous as smoking, governments should do the opposite: Tell the truth! If regulation makes e-cigarettes less easily accessible, less palatable or acceptable, more expensive, less consumer friendly or pharmacologically less effective, or inhibits innovation and development of new and improved products, then it causes harm by perpetuating smoking.Banning snus in Europe was a public health tragedy, seeing as Sweden currently has the lowest smoking and lung cancer rates of any EU country. So,banning safer alternatives is not a wise move for public health.Unfortunately, government and media now act as if vaping e-cigarettes is the health crisis,forgetting that cigarette smoking accounts for over 7.1 Million deaths every year.

Governments enjoy tobacco revenue and are willing to continue to allow disease and death from tobacco smoking. If there really were the political will to end cigarette use, there are ways.While well-intentioned attempts to curb cigarette smoking may appear bold and decisive, they are in the end timid. The big and most effective step — outlawing cigarettes on the grounds that they undeniably, in the long run, sicken and kill the people who smoke them, is never going to happen.In an already shaky economy, the repercussions from shutting down the tobacco industry would be highly problematic from a political and real-world standpoint.We know that the economic significance of tobacco is so great that governments will not allow legislation leading to the banning of cigarettes. We know any legislation will result from compromises among various powerful factions, only a few of which care a whit about science.

Many countries impose an additional tax on tobacco products which generates quite a lot of tax income. Banning smoking would cause this income to disappear, which would mandate cuts on government spending or a higher deficit.If governments were serious in their quest to end smoking, products like e-cigarettes,snus,heat-not burn, would not be frowned upon.

A government that cares for it’s people’s health and is serious in its fight against smoking would not ban options that reduce cigarette smoking. What a crazy world we live in !

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