I don’t know whether Arwa Mahdawi is a paid shill of the tobacco or pharmaceutical industry, or merely an incompetent hack, but she’s recently written a ludicrous article, for the Guardian no less, though it reads more like a hatchet job in the Mail, bemoaning the advertising of electronic cigarettes on television, claiming that it “risks renormalising smoking; negating the millions of pounds of taxpayer money that have gone into health campaigns designed to make puffing on a cigarette seem more gormless than glamorous.”
Mahdawi seems annoyed that the people in the ad look healthy. No doubt she’d prefer them to be coughing and wheezing, like proper smokers, but the experience of many ex-smokers who’ve switched to e-cigs has been a lot less coughing, and much easier breathing.
The addition of sciencey sounding phrases into the article don’t help her case either. Sure, nicotine is a “parasympathomimetic alkaloid”, but so is caffeine, and using such terms in a scary, patronising way just shows her bias, or she’d be arguing for coffee to be banned, and since you can get e-cigs with no nicotine, that would have to include decaf.
Perhaps a degree of regulation is necessary, and an age restriction for buying e-cigs, say 18, should be imposed. That wouldn’t be a huge burden on retailers, as I am not aware of a single one who sells to anyone under that age. It’s far easier for kids to get hold of real cigarettes, and to use them undetected, but e-cigs are more expensive initially, although they work out cheaper in the long run, and the batteries need recharging, so parents need only pay a little attention to their offspring’s activities.
So if children aren’t able to get their hands on the e-cigs, the ad’s target must be existing smokers. Surely switching from tobacco, which has proven harmful, to e-cigs, which may have long-term (unproven) harmful effects, but which are decidedly less harmful than tobacco, is a good thing.
That’s if you are genuinely interested in promoting health. If you’re more interested in protecting the tobacco or Pharma industries, or simply enjoy being judgemental with no justification, then e-cigs are bad, bad, bad!