In one of the most passionate defenses of electronic cigarettes that the world has ever witnessed, public health expert and highly respected Professor Peter Hajek recently presented a new pro-vaping report to Wales Assembly Members. While Wales is considering a ban on ecigs on all public areas, Hajek warned them to reconsider and pointed out that vaping was not posing any real health threat. In fact, ecigs seem to do just the opposite. “At the moment, all vaping does is potentially save lives,” he said.
As he addressed the pros and cons of banning ecigarettes in confined spaces, Hajek encouraged assembly members to take a closer look at the research. He explained that ecigs do not act as a gateway to lure non-smokers into tobacco use. “At the moment the evidence we have is that e-cigarettes are remarkably unattractive to non-smokers,” he told the National Assembly’s Health Committee. “Nicotine by itself is not that addictive. What is addictive is cigarettes.”
The professor went on to explain that non-smokers generally avoid ecigs anyway. He said that research proves it is “almost impossible to find a young non-smoker who would be a daily vaper.” Furthermore, Hajek believes a public vaping ban could actually mislead smokers into believing that vaping is harmful causing them to stick with deadly tobacco products instead. “We have data year after year that more and more smokers believe that e-cigarettes are harmful. That puts them off doing something which would save their lives,” he explained.
Hajek said he would personally vote against any ecig regulation that banned vaping in public spaces. “One reason is that e-cigarettes do not harm bystanders. The rationale we had for banning smoking is that there is a risk of passive smoking. There is no risk of passive smoking (with ecigs).”
In the most passionate statements of the report, Hajek compared anti-vaping bans to dictatorship-driven policies in North Korea. “It becomes a questions of ‘I don’t like it, so I don’t want people to do it.’ You get into shaky ground. The dictator in North Korea – if he doesn’t like a certain type of haircut he can ban it. If somebody doesn’t like people vaping it’s not a good enough reason to ban it.”
Hajek wasn’t alone in the admonishment to leave ecigs alone. The Royal College of Physicians also stood against the public vapor ban. “The RCP does not support a comprehensive ban on the use of e-cigarettes in enclosed and substantially-enclosed public places. The recent report published in Public Health England clearly demonstrates that smoking e-cigarettes has become a popular method to quit smoking tobacco. There is no evidence that smoking e-cigarettes in enclosed spaces poses a significant risk to other people from inhalation of vapour.”
Will these statements be effective enough to cause lawmakers to reconsider their anti-ecig legislation?