According to foreign reports, Martin kulip, an international researcher at the consumer center of the British taxpayer Protection Union, recently wrote an article reviewing how the UK allowed e-cigarettes to save hundreds of thousands of lives.
The following is the full text:
I am pleased that the UK is widely recognized as a global leader in reducing the harm of tobacco. The enthusiastic use of electronic cigarette products makes Britain the second lowest smoking rate in Europe, second only to Sweden. Unfortunately, this has not always been the case.
Our government used to prefer sticks to carrots. In 2007, after raising the tobacco tax for many years, it implemented a nationwide ban on smoking in indoor public places. The post implementation review of tobacco control activists said that smokers' lives may become so inconvenient that they are sure to quit smoking.
On the contrary, in the next three years, the long-term stable decline in smoking prevalence stagnated, and 21% of the public stubbornly continued to smoke.
It is in this environment that e-cigarettes first appeared in the UK a few years after the invention of Chinese scientist Han Li.
Regulators soon noticed that small entrepreneurs sold cigarette like equipment in bars and clubs. Early adopters took them apart, studied technology and built their own models in their studios and garden sheds.
"We examined the evidence carefully and called: We recorded the prime minister and urged Britain to take action against the ban on e-cigarettes."
In May 2010, with the growth of popularity, the British drug and health products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) consulted on how to regulate the transmission of nicotine. The first (and preferred) of its three proposed options is to completely ban these products within 21 days. The second is that manufacturers should be banned from pharmaceutical products until they are licensed. The third cautious wording to prevent it from being selected is to do nothing and leave these unregulated products containing nicotine without safety, quality and efficacy evaluation on the market.
Ordinary e-cigarette users described in detail the positive experience of their equipment. More than 1000 submitted testimonies successfully forced MHRA to do nothing. Any government that prohibits the decision of e-cigarettes and testifies to how many people that they help smokers do what they are asked to do, will constantly talk about the harm of smoking, showing high hypocrisy.
At about the same time, David halpen, the head of the new boost Department of then Prime Minister David Cameron, learned about the existence of e-cigarettes. His team tried to change public behavior according to the principles put forward by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein in nudge. Their task was to make suggestions to prove that the theory was feasible. Noting that e-cigarette users in the UK are almost entirely smokers or former smokers, he felt the opportunity.
Halpern wrote in his book inside the nudge unit: we carefully studied the evidence and made a phone call: We recorded the prime minister and urged Britain to take action against the ban on e-cigarettes. Indeed, we went further. We believe that we should deliberately seek to widely use e-cigarettes and use supervision to improve their quality and reliability, rather than banning them.
Under this non-interference approach, enterprises have sprung up and innovation has flourished, attracting about 12 million smokers in the country to use this new and safer alternative. By 2012, e-cigarettes have become the mainstream. Then there was an unprecedented sharp decline in smoking rate, from slightly less than 21% in 2011 to less than 15% in 2020.
However, the idea of medical licensing has not disappeared, and MHRA is still promoting this concept in 2013. However, Cameron's coalition government opposed and supported the decision to postpone the EU tobacco products directive (TPD). Consumers are once again crying out and campaigning vigorously to stop using drug licensing and all the resulting obstacles as a way to access e-cigarette products. As a result, this approach was rejected by the European Parliament in October 2013.
The category of e-cigarettes is still in its infancy. Following the EU TPD – and the UK government's preference to tap regulation to encourage smokers to change – the UK public health organization and regulators are faced with the task of consulting businesses and consumers to accurately understand what they should regulate.
With the rapid innovation of emerging industries and the introduction of new products to attract smokers into the field of e-cigarettes, it is by no means easy.
Great changes have taken place in a report entitled "e-cigarettes: emerging public health consensus" issued by the British Ministry of public health in 2015. Its famous conclusion is that the harm of e-cigarettes is at least 95% lower than that of smoking. The report was recognized by groups including smoking and health action (ash), and representatives of consumer groups were invited to attend the media conference of the report.
This has put many traditional tobacco control groups in trouble and triggered a fierce rebound. However, the conclusion of the British Ministry of public health was supported by the Royal College of physicians the following year. In its own report smokeless nicotine, the college declared that the health hazards caused by long-term inhalation of steam in today's available e-cigarettes are unlikely to exceed 5% of the hazards of smoking.
Today, e-cigarettes are recognized by the national health service and promoted in stoptober (annual smoking cessation campaign).
The rest, as they say, is history. For a time, unhappy voices sounded, but when they recognized their alien identity, they changed one by one, or became silent. Today, e-cigarettes have been recognized by the national health service and advertised on TV as a smoking cessation option in the annual smoking cessation campaign "stoptober".
Ash's latest report (released last month) estimates that there are 3.6 million e-cigarette users in the UK, of which two-thirds are former smokers. Among the rest, 30% are "dual" smokers and e-smokers - usually at the stage of quitting smoking or smoking less, and less than 5% of e-cigarette users have never smoked.
University College London estimates that 50000-70000 people use e-cigarettes to quit smoking every year, and these people will not quit smoking in other ways. A US / UK collaborative study published in 2020 concluded that this would prevent up to 200000 avoidable deaths in England alone by 2052.
And, yes, the rumor you heard is correct: we have an e-cigarette store in the NHS hospital here.
There is now a cross party political consensus in Britain, and few politicians deny the benefits of tobacco harm reduction, at least in e-cigarettes. Reducing tobacco harm has also been given wider consideration: the upcoming tobacco control plan in the UK is discussing risk reduction options, such as nicotine bags and heated tobacco products. Previous incarnations talked about maximizing the availability of safer alternatives to smoking.
Now Britain has left the EU and even announced a review of the snuff ban. Snuff is the product that Sweden claims to have the lowest smoking rate in Europe. Therefore, the incidence of smoking related diseases is also the lowest. However, since the 1990s, it has been banned from sale in all EU Member States (except Sweden).
With this progress, the question is where to start. Well, as some people talk about the "end" of tobacco use and the UK government's commitment to achieving the 2030 smoke-free goal (i.e. smoking rate is less than 5%), our recent history shows that cigarette sales have accelerated and the widespread use of smokeless alternatives is the best way to achieve this goal.
The UK only needs to follow the past success and implement a light and reasonable regulatory system and a positive information environment for all nicotine products that reduce risk, so as to further reduce cigarette sales. We have done it before, and the effect is very good.