Professor Robert West, of UCL’s department of epidemiology and public health, has urged those with a “vested interest” in opposing e-cigarettes to reconsider, saying: “Those colleagues are not always 100 per cent balanced and accurate in their views. Vested interests here are not only financial and in this case it comes from a puritanical ethic around giving up smoking.”
Dirty Tricks Campaigns Revealed!
Dirty Trick #1 – GlaxoSmithKline, which owns the NiQuitin brand, last year wrote to Jane Ellison, the public health minister, warning that e-cigarettes could act as a “gateway to tobacco”, leaked correspondence has revealed.
Dirty Trick # 2 – Some members on a panel of health experts set up to advise ministers on regulating e-cigarettes did not disclose at a key meeting that they were paid consultants to pharmaceutical companies developing rival nicotine products, including Pfizer.
Electronic cigarettes should be prescribed on the NHS, say scientists!
More sanity about electronic cigarettes in the media – this time from The Times reporters Rosemary Bennett and Alex Ralph who write that scientists are now calling for the NHS to make e-cigarettes available on prescription after evidence showed them to be far more effective in helping people to quit than over-the-counter nicotine patches, gum or willpower alone.
Researchers at University College London followed 5,863 smokers who were attempting to stop over five years. Those using e-cigarettes were 60 per cent more likely to succeed than those using other common methods. Only the little-used NHS Stop Smoking Service had better results.
Professor West said it would be “perfectly reasonable” for the NHS to recommend e-cigarettes.
The findings will be a boost to e-cigarette manufacturers, says The Times, which have faced opposition from lobbyists for the pharmaceutical industry. Parts of the health lobby say the devices “normalise” smoking. Researchers said there was no evidence for this and urged the NHS to prescribe them once licensed, as expected in coming months.
Despite a sharp decline in the number of smokers in recent years, more than 8.5 million, or one in five, adults still smoke. About 4 million try to stop each year and a quarter use e-cigarettes, slightly more than those who buy nicotine patches. Most rely on willpower.
The study found those using over-the-counter patches or exercising willpower had the lowest rate of success. Those using e-cigarettes, patches prescribed by their doctor or other prescribed medication had a 60 per cent higher rate of success.
The small number who used the NHS Stop Smoking Service had significantly higher success rates than those using any other method. The study was funded by Cancer Research UK. One reader wrote on The Times message board:’ I started to use one a couple of months ago and have almost completely kicked smoking. I use it the same way I used to use gum when I tried to give up but this is more fulfilling because it fills the mental gap left. I have found that I use it less and less frequently.
At the end of the day if it reduces my chances of getting cancer but doesn’t stop me altogether then it is still a triumph!’