Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Public health policy quiz...

Most readers will know that e cigarettes now look likely to become regulated as a medicinal product, with huge cost implications for an industry comprised mainly as SME’s. I thought it might be fun to play a little public health policy themed game, called "What/who am I and should I be banned/prosecuted?"
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.

B) In 2009, an All Party Parliamentary Group estimated that there were 1.5 million involuntary addicts of these products in the UK

They are illegal to supply without a government licence, however in 2010, the government directly subsidised the supply of more than 6.6 million batches of them to consumers in England. It did so though its authorised agents in the public and private sectors, who are almost entirely self-regulating. The suppliers of these products, which are known to cause many serious long term health problems, have never faced any criminal sanctions.

Although several of them have been successfully sued by consumers. In 1987, a Scandinavian study found that 11% of male addicts and 23% of female addicts commit suicide.

C) We are an organisation that supplies goods and services to schools and schoolchildren

One of the products we supply to schoolchildren is highly toxic and resembles confectionery. Although the packaging states "keep out of reach of children", we have a policy of ignoring this warning.

In 2009 there was a documented case where we supplied this product, in a potentially lethal dose, to a 14 year old child called Aiden without telling his parents. He was rushed to hospital and survived. Aiden's Mother called for us to be banned from supplying these products to schoolchildren, but nothing happened. The doctor who treated him commented that had he not smoked two cigarettes prior to using the product we gave him he would have died.

When questioned by the media regarding the incident we simply defended our policy of supplying these products to children without parental consent and resolved to continue doing so whether the parents like it or not. Neither the Local Authority nor any other government regulator took any form of enforcement action against us.
Can anyone guess the answers? Over the next week or so I’ll post some answers, with links, and invite you to discuss the public health policy issues at stake.


formertory said...

First one's an easy target that the bansturbators in Parliament and Brussels are already drawing a bead on; motorbikes and scooters.

It would be interesting to break out of those figures sales, accidents and deaths associated with those increasingly popular, underpowered 50cc mini scooters which anyone with a pulse and an L-plate can ride. Unable to keep up with traffic, and usually ridden by people who've had no training or previous experience at all, they're lethal. The riders move way over to the left into the gutter and cars and trucks are encouraged to slide past them, massively increasing the risk of collision.

Meanwhile, I'll stick to my 1200cc touring bike and continue trying to avoid those of the "99%" who appear to have dedicated their lives to driving without the use of rear view mirrors, with aggressive attitudes towards bikes, or with some peculiar deficiency in their vision which renders them unable to see motorbikes at all.

Volvo (any), BMW 5nn and Audi S4 are worth avoiding in all circumstances.

formertory said...

In case "C", how fortunate that the doctor had smoked two cigarettes, so avoiding his own death.... :-) .

Mark Wadsworth said...

1. I'll go with motorbikes.
2. Anti-depressants or tranquilizers.
3. Flavoured condoms.

Sarton Bander said...

Second Hand Salt !

Morgan Charles said...

SB, I'm convinced that the "eat less salt" campaign is entirely manufactured by academics, medical research organisations and fakecharities to extract money from governments. You only have to look at the acronym of the leading fakecharity in the UK, CASH - says it all really. As someone who struggles to keep their salt intake up to the point where I don't get cramp, I have a personal grudge against these bunch of con artists.