A new research paper attempts to clarify the confusion surrounding nicotine consumption and the role it plays in the diseases caused by smoking. The paper, released by the Consumer Choice Center, outlines six main reasons why the “war on nicotine is pointless” and should end.
“Instead of celebrating declining numbers of smokers and far fewer deaths, many governments, public health agencies and anti-smoking activists have been on the hunt for new enemies,” the researchers wrote. “They decided to scapegoat nicotine, and as a result, the fight against smoking gradually transformed into a fight against nicotine. Such an approach has dire consequences: fewer people switching to less harmful alternatives.”
The paper was co-authored by Michael Landl, director of the World Vapers’ Alliance, and Maria Chaplia, research manager at the Consumer Choice Center
The authors list six reasons to stop the war against nicotine:
- People consume nicotine, but they die from smoking
- Nicotine in patches and gums is not a problem — it is neither (a problem) when vaped nor in a pouch
- Addiction is complex and not solved by a war on nicotine
- Nicotine makes some people smarter, stronger and more attractive
- Misconceptions about nicotine are hindering progress
- Prohibition never works
The researchers advise policymakers to prioritize practical solution. “Public health needs to make use of all available possibilities,” they write. “People who cannot quit smoking should be encouraged to switch to less harmful alternatives. Nicotine is not the main problem when it comes to smoking, the toxins are.
The authors also say regulation should be risk proportionate. “Regulation must be drafted according to the actual risk of a product,” they write. “Vaping or snus are less harmful than smoking, hence must be treated differently. Nicotine doesn’t become a poison when delivered through vaping. When nicotine isn’t a problem in gums and patches, it can’t be a bigger problem in vaping. The moral panic when it comes to nicotine must end.
“Addiction is complex and is not solved with a war on nicotine. When it comes to addiction, public health policies should not single out a single substance. Potential benefits of nicotine must be explored and unbiased scientific endeavors must be ensured. Public policy must accept that many people use nicotine recreationally. A war on nicotine will fail like the war on drugs or alcohol prohibition failed. Public misconceptions about nicotine must be fought. They discourage people from switching to less harmful alternatives and therefore hurt public health.”