Monday, 15 July 2013

Public health policy quiz answers (1)...

Last Wednesday, due to the news that e-cigarettes might become regulated as medicines, I posed three questions.

Question A was:

A) 93,489 of these products were sold in 2011, all quite legally

In the same year, they caused the deaths of 362 users, as well as 5,247 serious injuries and 20,150 casualties. A much safer alternative is readily available, and 99% of consumers already use it. The 1% of consumers who choose not to use the safer alternative make up 20% of all related deaths and serious injuries.

They are 40 times more likely to die than consumers who chose the safer alternative. The 1% of consumer who chose the more dangerous product in 2011 included the then Chief Executive of the Trading Standards Institute, who remain silent to this day about the appalling safety record of these products and the risk of death and injury to its users.

The answer was motorcycles and scooters, one point each to Mark Wadsworth and formertory.  The statistics were pulled from here.

Have a look through the responses to the MHRA consultation.  One of the arguments put up in favour of removing e cigs from the marketplace by various public health and consumer protection groups was, predictably, the need to ensure the health and safety of the user.

I stand to be corrected, but I cannot find one single example of anyone getting injured or killed by an e cigarette or related product.  Likewise, none of the righteous groups that responded are suggesting that chemical preparations containing high levels of nicotine are banned.  It is understandable that people might be worried about children being accidentally poisoned by e liquid, which is highly toxic.  But this is not what the bansturbators are saying.  They claim to be primarily concerned by the health of e cigarette users.

Out of all the products we can potentially injure or kill ourselves with, why on Earth have they singled out relatively harmless e cigarettes?  Any answers?


Morgan Charles said...

It's fairly obviously an unholy alliance between Big Tobacco and the Puritans. The former see e-cigs, quite rightly, as competition and the latter want to ban all non-medicinal drugs.

Jonathan Bagley said...

The MHRA medicines approval is funded by the Pharmaceutical Industry, whose useless NRT products are becoming obselete Have you noticed how many TV ads they have these days?
The Tobacco Industry is now investing in ecigs. They want stricter regulation to get rid of the current small business competition, so they are free charge high prices for products rendered inferior by the regulations, but are the only ones available.

Jack said...

Because it is never, ever about health....

Mark Wadsworth said...

Award my point to Formertory, I just cribbed his answer.