Darryl tempest, President of the Canadian e-cigarette Association, issued an open letter calling on the government to use e-cigarettes in tobacco harm reduction strategies. He said that in Canada, the number of deaths from smoking has exceeded the sum of drug overdoses and the death toll of COVID-19, becoming the "public enemy number one" in public health. E-cigarette has been proved to be the most effective tool to solve the public health crisis.
The following is the full text of the open letter:
Open letter from Darryl tempest, President of electronic cigarette Association of Canada
Bimesville, Ontario, February 16, 2021
In the past decade, many scientific researches have confirmed that the harm of e-cigarette is far less than that of cigarette. All health organizations have also recognized the harmful effects of e-cigarettes and encouraged smokers to switch to e-cigarettes. Unfortunately, the public (especially smokers) have not yet seen such overwhelming evidence. They have been misled by the chaotic, wrong and even biased information released by public institutions and the media.
Canada has a long history in promoting pest reduction products. One of the most typical cases is to use harm reduction measures to deal with the opioid drug crisis. Opioids are analgesic drugs extracted from opium poppy, such as morphine, heroin, fentanyl and cocaine. They are mostly used for surgical anesthesia and are addictive. In Canada, some addicts will buy opioids from the black market, because the black market does not limit the number of doses, addicts are very easy to abuse drugs, and even die of overdose.)
Opioid overdose has killed 16364 Canadians in four years. In response to this crisis, the Canadian government not only established safe injection sites, but also considered legalizing opioids. These policies are obviously controversial, but the Canadian government believes that they can help addicts obtain and use drugs more safely, thereby reducing mortality. They insist on solving problems with the starting point of scientific harm reduction.
Novel coronavirus pneumonia policy is another hot topic, and is in the new crown pneumonia outbreak (COVID-19) prevention and control period. In the eyes of the outside world, Canada's anti epidemic measures are relatively "extreme", such as the direct closure of enterprises and schools, the formulation of mandatory security plans for employers, and the introduction of travel restrictions But please note that novel coronavirus pneumonia has taken 21311 Canadian lives so far, and these policies have been thoroughly reviewed before implementation, and have been proved to be "necessary in safeguarding public health".
From these two cases, it can be seen that although there are some controversies about Canada's effective disaster reduction policies, the ultimate goal of the policies is to maintain public health.
Let's look at e-cigarettes. In Canada, the number of people who die from smoking is as high as 45000 every year. Smoking has become a major cause of preventable diseases and premature death in Canadians. Scientific evidence has proved that e-cigarette has a significant effect on smoking cessation and is the most effective way to quit smoking. However, up to now, the government's support for the promotion of e-cigarette is far from enough.
According to the official website of Health Canada, switching to e-cigarettes can effectively reduce smokers' exposure to harmful chemicals. However, every time a tobacco control campaign is launched, the Ministry of health only emphasizes the harm of e-cigarettes, not mentioning that 4.5 million smokers have the opportunity to reduce the harm by switching to e-cigarettes. This has greatly misled the public.
More than 50% of Canadians mistakenly believe that "e-cigarettes are at least as harmful as smoking," according to a national survey. We need to know that if we can effectively play the role of e-cigarette in quitting smoking and reducing harm, we can save millions of lives, save billions of dollars in health care expenses, and prevent millions of Canadian families from losing their loved ones due to smoking For e-cigarettes with so many positive possibilities, people's correct cognition ratio is too low.
Of course, some of the public's concerns are reasonable, such as the underage use of e-cigarettes. At this time, according to the normal way of thinking, public institutions and media should focus on education, limiting minors' access to e-cigarettes, in order to prevent minors from using e-cigarettes. However, they did not solve the problem in this way. Instead, they covered up the harm reducing effect of e-cigarettes through a series of campaigns, such as targeting flavoring e-cigarettes (e-cigarettes with flavor, such as e-cigarettes with fruit flavor), exaggerating the harm of products and misleading the public.
The fact that the public should really see is that e-cigarette is the most effective tool for Canada to achieve the goal of tobacco control, and policy makers must support the inclusion of e-cigarette into the strategy of harm reduction.
We can look to the UK and see how much positive e-cigarettes have had on them. If the Canadian government really wants to control the smoking rate at 5% in 2035, its policy must catch up with a large number of scientific research results, take e-cigarettes as the most powerful tool to reduce tobacco harm, and realize that the key to promoting e-cigarettes is to diversify tastes.
As for the use of minors, we can solve it through proper law enforcement, education and age restrictions, rather than at the cost of the lives of millions of adult smokers.
Smoking has become Canada's "public enemy number one" in the face of public health. The number of deaths due to smoking has exceeded the total number of drug overdoses and the death toll of COVID-19. Therefore, the government must solve the public health crisis by reducing the harm as before.
We need a systemic change that will save millions of lives. For myself, my family died of smoking related diseases. What I want to say is that if our government, public health institutions and the media continue to choose to ignore it, they are insulting our lost loved ones, because in their view, the life and death of these smokers are no longer important to society.
We can't give up those smokers who still have the chance to improve their health, let alone those close to us. We will continue to fight for them.