Mirror: Smoking bans don’t work – nor will cracking down on vape and cigarette sales

This articele was first published in the Daily Mirror.

The World Health Organisation’s ‘Tobacco Free Initiative’ aims to speed up the gradual transition to a smoke-free world.

And yet, for some reason, it is also opposed to vaping, the safe alternative to smoking which is the best tool we have for helping people quit cigarettes.

It is clear, then, that the WHO doesn’t actually care about making us healthier. In reality, it just wants to accumulate more political control and centralise power over health policy.

Worryingly, our politicians are now starting to listen to the WHO’s harmful anti-vaping rhetoric. New health secretary Sajid Javid is reportedly weighing up introducing new restrictions on vaping to help reach the government’s target of making the country smoke-free by 2030.

That doesn’t make any sense. Vaping is smoke-free. If the aim is to help people stop smoking, we should be encouraging more vaping – not less.

Evidence from Public Health England and Cancer Research makes clear vaping’s benefits, but the WHO – and now, it seems, our government too – is blinkered in its approach to e-cigarettes and hell-bent on ignoring all evidence which opposes its agenda.

Health risks from vaping are 95 per cent lower than traditional cigarettes. Perhaps even more importantly, vaping is by far the most effective method for quitting smoking. Researchers estimate it has a quit rate of 74 per cent.

Why, then, would the government want to ban sales of flavoured vapes to 18-21-year-olds? Those are the potential smokers of the future. Why deny them access to vaping?

Twenty-one-year-olds are adults and should be treated as such. If an 18-year-old can buy a house, fight in a war and get married, they are perfectly capable of making lifestyle choices.

Sajid Javid supposedly wants to ban sales of cigarettes to 18- to 21-year-olds as well as flavoured vapes – but that won’t work either.

In 2018, one in six children aged 11 to 15 admitted they had smoked, regardless of the law. Put simply: smoking bans never work.

Instead, all this proposed law would do is push legal consumers towards the black market, robbing the Treasury of much-needed tax income, fuelling gangs and crime and endangering consumers’ health.

As if that wasn’t enough, this undeserved focus on smoking (which is declining anyway) and vaping (which is much healthier than smoking) means a genuine crisis is being neglected.https://get-latest.convrse.media/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.mirror.co.uk%2Fnews%2Fuk-news%2Fsmoking-bans-dont-work-nor-24727352&cre=bottom&cip=21&view=web

Binge-drinking is a major problem, especially among the young people targeted by this proposed vape and cigarette sales ban. Drinking culture in universities and among teens is rampant.

Almost a quarter of students drink at least two to three times per week. From 2018-19, 640 young people aged 16 to 24 were treated in hospital for alcohol dependence.

Alcohol, which is much more normalised than vaping, can be detrimental to young people’s health. An Imperial College London study this year found that even drinking six pints of beer a week – in line with modest government guidelines – can wreak havoc on our organs.

That’s not to say we should crack down on alcohol sales instead. But it’s telling that the government is blindly following the World Health Organisation narrative on smoking and vaping, even when it means ignoring other issues that arguably do much more harm.

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