Are We Seeing The End Of Smoking?

Early 2010, word of mouth promoted vaping from ex-smokers to their friends. They converted thousands of early adopters with evidence of reduced harm and real-world success at quitting. Twelve years on, the disruptive technology has played a key role in drastically reducing smoking rates in the United Kingdom – but others want to go further and actually ban smoking altogether.

A recent University College London piece of research looked at what people thought about possible tobacco control policies. Published in the esteemed Tobacco Control journal, the research team looked at data from the Cancer Research UK and SPECTRUM-funded Smoking Toolkit Study. The monthly research accumulates data from 1,700 adults and has been running since 2006. From 2020, the research was broadened to include extra subjects in Wales and Scotland.

What did they find?

·6% of people fully support shops having their licence to sell tobacco removed if they sold to underage customers
·9% of people fully support banning the sale of cigarettes and tobacco near to schools
·2% of people fully support raising the age of sale of tobacco products to 21
·5% of people now think the government should reduce the number of places selling tobacco products

Not only does this lend a mandate to politicians if they wish to create tougher tobacco control laws, “if policies are demonstrated to be effective, and as future generations grow up without cigarettes” support for even stricter laws such as complete bans may grow, according to lead author Dr Loren Kock.

To date, the government has successfully supported vaping as an alternative to smoking – and the recent review recommended pushing e-cigs even harder to current smokers. Clearly, vaping works as a stop smoking tool, but how do you feel about tobacco being banned altogether?

The question is pertinent because although not yet being promoted in the UK, a rolling block on the legal age to buy tobacco has been enacted in certain parts of the world and the EU is currently considering similar action.

Spanish public health organisation NoFumadores is pushing the European Commission to ban the sale of tobacco to anybody born after 2009. “[This will] save new generations from falling into tobacco addiction, to act against related environmental dangers and against smoking,” the body said.

In addition, the organisation is calling upon European legislators to ban all mention of tobacco and smoking in adverts, films, television programs, on the radio and social media. They also want to increase the number of places where smoking is banned outright.

Some say that this will not impact the UK but leading vape advocates warn that where the EU leads on this subject, many other countries end up following.

Why does this matter to vapers/ecig users? Well, vaping doesn’t get away scot-free here, NoFumadores is also calling for vaping to be banned in many open areas such as beaches, parks and the like – and those that make laws in Brussels are looking on the call very favourably.

So, while there appears to be strong support for tough action on shops selling tobacco and who is allowed to buy it, many consumer groups are now worried that electronic cigarettes will be treated in a similar fashion despite being at least 95% safer. Would you mind if you were banned from vaping on beaches and in parks?