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

For the UK to reach smoke-free status by 2030, the health initiatives should be encouraging vaping, not cracking down on it.

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.

Mirror: Climate alarmism undermines fight against climate change and alienates young people

Alarmism undermines climate policy. Those who are pushing climate alarmism know full well that it will hit the poor harder than anyone else.

This article was first published in the Daily Mirror.

Code red for humanity.”

That’s the headline accompanying the latest report from the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC), an arm of the UN, assuring us that climate change catastrophe is just around the corner, and that if we don’t all abandon our beef burgers and put on our peace sandals straight away, the Earth will be engulfed in a ball of fire by the end of next week.

On the face of it, this is a very worrying thing for a UN body to say and we should all pay a great deal of attention to it.

In reality, no one does. It will dominate the news cycle for a day or two and then we will all move onto something else.

Why is that? Is it because nobody cares about the planet and we’re all fine with seeing humanity melted into a burning pool of effluent?

Of course not. It’s because we have heard it all before.

Reports like this one have lost all credibility with the public – and especially with young people like me.

We have been told so many times that the end of the world is imminent and that we only have 12 years, 10 years, five years to turn the tide on climate change that it now sounds like a broken record.

The problem is this kind of dramatism isn’t founded in science. Bodies like the IPCC consistently conflate things we are very sure of, like the fact that humans are warming the planet, with other things where the science is muddied and there is plenty of uncertainty, like the idea that there will be a two-metre rise in sea level by 2034.

The result is that it is hard to take these reports seriously, but this kind of alarmism isn’t neutral. We can’t all laugh it off and move on.

It is actively harmful because it undermines genuine efforts to combat climate change and it plays into destructive narratives which reduce the poor’s quality of life and fuel inequality.

The people pushing the alarmism know full well that it will hit the poor harder than anyone else. It’s all very well shaming people for eating meat, but vegan products like tofu and almond milk are still expensive and inaccessible and we’re a very long way away from lab-grown meat being an affordable meat replacement.

In a select committee appearance on climate change , Sir David Attenborough said boldly that the prices of flights should go up to deter air travel. But won’t that hit poorer families hardest, while wealthy people like Attenborough himself can continue jetting around the world to their heart’s content?

“I’m afraid that is the case,” replied Sir David.

Feeling that you are doing your bit to save the planet is a luxury not everyone can afford, and headline-chasing climate alarmism shouting about how ‘the end is nigh’ only entrenches and exacerbates inequalities, not to mention ruining climate policy discourse.

It’s time for the UN to step back and allow for a more level-headed approach to climate change.