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Evolution not revolution

Scientists say so-called 'light' cigarettes with ventilated filters may have made smokers more vulnerable to what is now the most common form of lung cancer.

Research has found a ‘clear relationship’ between rising rates of adenocarcinoma and greater demand for ‘light’ cigarettes.

On the back of that report a local newspaper asked Forest to contribute 220 words for a feature that asked, 'Is it time to ban cigarettes completely?'

This is what I submitted:

There are many things that are potentially bad for us – alcohol, sugary drinks, fast food, cigarettes. The government’s role is not to prohibit popular products but to educate consumers about the health risks and allow adults to make informed choices.

Governments also have to be pragmatic. Smokers contribute £12 billion a year in tobacco duties and tax, revenue that far exceeds the alleged cost of treating smoking-related diseases.

That aside, banning cigarettes won’t stop people smoking. Instead it would drive the product underground and into the hands of criminal gangs, which is what happened following the prohibition of alcohol in America in the 1920s.

Today smokers are a minority group but there are still nine million smokers in the UK, many of whom enjoy smoking and don’t want to quit despite the well-publicised health risks.

According to recent research 95 per cent of confirmed smokers say they smoke because they enjoy it. Whatever the ‘official’ view of smoking, cigarettes are undoubtedly a source of comfort and pleasure to millions of people.

That won’t change until something better comes along that meets consumer demand. E-cigarettes are a step in that direction and should be supported, but you can’t force smokers to quit or switch to a safer alternative by banning combustible cigarettes. Change has to be based on evolution not revolution.

I'll link to the feature if and when it appears online.

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Reader Comments (9)

"Scientists say so-called 'light' cigarettes with ventilated filters may have made smokers more vulnerable to what is now the most common form of lung cancer."

The history of "light" cigarettes is an interesting one.
"Light" cigarettes was a term invented by Ernst Wynder of the National Cancer Advsory Board in 1974 to encourage smokers to use lower "tar" cigarettes.

The ventilated filters were suggested by other members the National Cancer Advisory Board, having previously written to President Ford demanding that nicotine and tar in cigarettes be reduced.

In 1976 they issued a Release Statement

“The research conducted by the Smoking and Health Program of the National Cancer Institute and other national and international organizations has identified promising techniques for reducing toxic elements of smoke. These techniques fall into three general categories.

Changes in Cigarette Construction
The burning rate and the amount of air mixed with the smoke while the cigarette is being puffed can be altered by the use of cigarette paper of greater porosity, and by providing aerating mouthpieces

These methods reduce the amount of tobacco burned during inhalation, and by diluting the smoke recieved by the smoker make it less hazardous.”

On page 5 they helpfully suggest adulterating the tobacco by the addition of “cellulose synthetic tobacco extenders, inorganic salts, clays and kaolin” in reconstituted tobacco sheets and suggest that tobacco can be “expanded, puffed or freeze dried so that less of it is required to fill each cigarette”

They also suggested that the tobacco companies should do this "voluntarily" presumably because otherwise it would be done by force.

Thursday, May 25, 2017 at 13:59 | Unregistered CommenterRose2

Who funded the research? If ASH has any part in commissioning, funding, or supporting this so called research, I will assume it is just a lie. I'll start to believe the smoking and health messages again once ASH is defunded. Until then, it is just propaganda inspired via manipulation of scientific results from a hate group.

Thursday, May 25, 2017 at 14:45 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

You might have added that driving smoking, 'underground,' would greatly increase the appeal of smoking to a much wider audience. It would have the unintended effect of making smoking uber-cool again.
Funny that, isn't it?

Thursday, May 25, 2017 at 18:32 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Mallon

Woe betide any political party that bans cigarettes and tobacco. My wrath against them is not assuaged at any time.

Thursday, May 25, 2017 at 18:38 | Unregistered Commentergray

Funny coincidence. Just a few days ago I published a rant in my blog about the Delusional Denialists (tobacco con trolls) who really were responsible for introducing the idea of "light" cigarettes in the first place. And later they were all huffing and puffing (pun intended) about the big bad wolves who dared to pick up their lies and deceptions and perfected them.

I wrote down, how I perceived all that crap back then. And now Rose2 confirms it. I'll add the links, if I may ...

Thursday, May 25, 2017 at 20:34 | Unregistered CommenterNorbert Zillatron

The problem with this current round of research is the inherent bias that assumes smoking causes lung cancer. After all this research actually does not demonstrate actual causation. It also ignores the fact that most lung cancers in people who have never smoked are adenocarcinomas.

There is a strong possibility that the attack on 'light' cigarettes conflates causation. This is especially relevant since lung cancers are on the rise for non-smokers. And of course as already mentioned, the tobacco control lobby were responsible for advocating light cigarettes in the first place. I suspect this is more propaganda supporting the goal of incremental prohibition.

Thursday, May 25, 2017 at 21:36 | Unregistered CommenterVinny Gracchus

You could have used some of the words to point out that this research is absolute bunkum
Personal choice is a very good argument, but as long as the antis (in the general public) think we are choosing to kill ourselves, they will always keep the belief that it is acceptable to try and stop that for our own good. Or that choosing to kill ourselves is an inherently irrational choice and can only be driven by addiction, therefore, stopping us can only be a good thing
What we really need to do is educate the general public to what the tobacco control industry is doing, the lies they tell and how they formulate their junk science
They might no be so eager to side with them

Friday, May 26, 2017 at 14:01 | Unregistered CommenterBucko

Regardless of what they declare (which in any case must be taken with a BIG grain of salt), tobacco controllers and health bureaucracies do not want total legal tobacco prohibition, like the alcohol prohibition in the USA during the 1920's or like the current prohibition of "hard drugs". The reason is clear: if tobacco becomes illegal, then "tobacco control" would become a police problem handled by agencies like the DEA, not by civil medical bureaucracies, which then would loose most of their public funding, which means lots of redundancies. They obviously prefer the current model of prohibitionist regulation within a legal framework. In fact, their plan for cannabis is also this type regulation.

Saturday, May 27, 2017 at 0:28 | Unregistered CommenterRoberto

9 million adult smokers could equate to 20% of UK voters. Electoral Commission estimated 46 million eligible voters last year.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017 at 11:08 | Unregistered CommenterStui1

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