Push too hard in one direction and you could have an adverse impact on what you are trying to accomplish. This is exactly what is starting to happen with the anti-vaping campaigns by public health officials in Canada. For years, public health officials have been dead set against tobacco use, however, with so much focus on their new enemy – ecigarettes – they may actually be pushing people back towards smoking, rather than vaping.
Does Big Tobacco Have a Hand in the Anti-Vaping Crusade?
“The drum beat of opposition seems to have picked up in recent weeks, with public health agencies in Ontario and B.C. recommending crackdowns on e-cigarettes, worrying they could normalize smoking or act as gateways to tobacco itself,” says Tom Blackwell in the National Post.
“That kind of ‘highly suspicious’ approach may be having unintended consequences, suggests a new report to investors from Germany’s Berenberg bank,” he adds.
According to the report’s authors:
“Our medium-term view is that the regulators have reinforced the position of [conventional] cigarettes for many consumers.”
It is an interesting situation, one that also leaves many wondering if those opposed to cigarettes are somehow getting a kickback from tobacco companies who feel threatened by the growth of the vaping industry as an alternative to smoking.
“You can’t attack a safer option to something without invariably aiding the more risky option,” said David Sweanor, an adjunct law professor at the University of Ottawa and long-time anti-smoking advocate. “But in any abstinence-only campaign, people miss that.”
People Are Growing Suspicious of Public Health Officials’ Motivations
Many public health officials are also being criticized for the reasons why they oppose ecigarette. Many of the arguments they make against vaping are unfounded, and they are not supported by data or statistics. Some even make unfounded claims about their safety and potential impact on society.
“Absolutely some suspicion is warranted, but it’s almost like [public health] people regard e-cigarettes as bad products because of the people who are now selling them,” he said. “They are locked into a sort of dogmatic view,” said Jonathan Fell of Britain’s Ash Park Capital.
While it’s not surprising that public health officials and opponents of vaping are make such a hard push, it is interesting to see their efforts could actually have a more detrimental impact on society. Pushing people back to smoking is not the answer. Allowing people to make the choice to vape or not, based on real data, should be the overall objective.