PRO-vapers have defended their position after a fracas broke out at the 17th World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Cape Town with non-smoking activists.
News outlets reported on a “commotion” erupting at the anti-tobacco summit in South Africa between a vaping and non-smoking organization between heated debates.
Pro-vapers have since defended their position saying while in an ideal world smokers would simply give up nicotine altogether, e-cigarettes do provide a method of displacing smoking which in turn provides a huge public health benefit.
Prominent pro-vaper Clive Bates added e-cigarettes of the future will be even more effective in providing a healthier alternative to tobacco – and said the dangers of nicotine were akin to caffeine found in coffee.
He said of the stand-off between vapers and non-smoking parties at the conference to TV news channel SABC: “I’m amazed that they don’t want to have the debate and they want to shut this out and not engage with it, they should be running to the debate not away from it.
“It is controversial but my impression of these sessions here in Cape Town is that the tide is turning and people are seeing the benefits (of vaping). Both in the United States and the UK we are seeing a rapid decline of smokers now not just in the adult population, but in the teenage population and that’s a really good thing.
“You can’t hide from that fact, so people have to acknowledge that now and come to terms with the fact that something is working and it’s working well even if they feel uncomfortable about it.”
Points made at the conference included the fact some governments are now promoting e-cigarettes as being a healthier alternative to smoking with TV commercials and their stance on smokers making the switch to vaping products ultimately leading to a “public health win”.
Bates went onto say the benefits of e-cigarettes even extends beyond health but to an individual’s welfare and finances as well.
“I’m pro vaping for public health reasons, we don’t know exactly how less risky vaping is than smoking is exactly but the Royal College of Physicians and Public Health England, the two biggest health agencies in the UK, say it’s at least 95 per cent less risky than smoking – so 95 per cent less risk of cancer, heart disease, respiratory illnesses and so on, so that’s a huge gain,” Bates explained.
“When someone makes the switch from smoking to vaping, their risks go right down, their welfare goes up, they save money – it’s a fantastic outcome for them.
“If we can get people to switch then that’s a great public health win. It’s got to the point where the British Government are so enthusiastic about this that they’ve actually got adverts for vaping on TV to persuade smokers to switch in order to get them to quit smoking and see the health benefits.”
Speaking about the future of e-cigarettes, the vaping industry is working towards making products even more effective in helping smokers quit and by 2030 advancements are set to make it even more tempting to switch.
“At the moment the way smoke is created is you set fire to tobacco and breathe in the smoke – it’s the particles of smoke and toxic gases from burning tobacco that do almost all the harm to the body to the lungs, to the heart, to the brain… if you can heat a liquid with electrical heat from a battery then you don’t get the products of combustion,” Bates explained at the conference.
“We’ve got to the point now where the batteries are small and powerful enough that you can heat enough liquid at a high enough temperature that we can deliver a reasonable alternative to smoking and that’s only going to progress in the future.
“So if we try to imagine the vaping products in 2030 and 2040 they will be different again as they are today as they were in 2010 and that technology will be like vinyl records to fully digital and that’s because we will have a superior technology which you can inhale and take nicotine with.”
While there is still much misconception that nicotine is the substance that causes disease, Bates added to the debate by saying it was in fact akin to caffeine in a cup of coffee, which does little harm, in moderation.
He added: “I still think people shouldn’t take nicotine, quit if they can, but if it’s not doing them any harm, does it matter? We don’t make a big fuss about caffeine, the reason we don’t is because it doesn’t do us much harm.
“ I think in the end we will get into this position with nicotine…”