Sunday, 20 October 2013

Do as we say, not as we do on addiction

The British Medical Association has advised Celtic and Rangers to cut its ties with e-cigarettes. The clubs now both have links with E-Lites, enabling the e-cigarettes to be sold and used at matches.

Clubs have been persuaded to enforce the smoking ban at matches, even though a substantial number of fans are not standing or sitting under cover during matches. They have bought into the idea that smoking should be avoided at any cost, an ambition that e-cigarettes have attempted to capitalise on.

The clubs and companies have together formed a partnership to allow people access to a product that allows an experience mimicking smoking to be carried out at matches. It might even make the difference between some fans attending or not attending matches, But their anti-tobacco stance does not satisfy the BMA, which is interested only in complete cessation or pharmaceutical alternatives to smoking, because anything else 'encourages addiction' (why e-cigs do this more than nicotine patches is anybody's guess.

Two readers' comments seem quite apposite:
Is this the same BMA that is quite happy to give methadone to opiate misusers as it "lowers the death rate"?
The other appears in an earlier version of the story, announcing the double deal between E-Lites and both Rangers and Celtic (Herald, free registration required):
The MHRA says ecigs will be regulated as medicines in 2016 with all flavouring to be banned and strengths to be limited. It's spokesman Jeremy Mean says that no current devices would would gain medical approval (even if the importers could afford the million pound cost of licensing their device). Now ecigs have the backing of huge businesses such as Celtic and Rangers, it will be interesting to see whether the MHRA persists with its policy – a policy likely to result in tens of thousands of extra future lung cancer deaths when people find the approved devices, ironically likely to be owned by tobacco companies, unsatisfactory and switch back to tobacco [emphasis added]
The idea that medics are anxious that the economic power of Rangers and Celtic might ultimately dilute the MHRA decision on e-cigarettes is sadly believable. It makes one wonder if giving up smoking is as high up their list of priorities as they would have us believe.

Far from not wanting people addicted, it looks as if all parties are anxious to make money out of addictions, even if only to prevent their evil competitors from making money out of addictions instead!

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