Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Head To Head

Should electronic cigarettes be as freely available as tobacco cigarettes? No

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 14 June 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f3840

Rapid Response:

Re: Should electronic cigarettes be as freely available as tobacco cigarettes? No

Professor Chapman's mask has slipped.

From our exchanges in the past it seems that Prof Chapman is a socialist with a dislike of capitalism. He has said he also dislikes "Big Pharma" as well as "Big Tobacco."

I have my ideology too, I am a libertarian and classical liberal who dislikes the nanny state.

To my mind it is not joined up thinking to call for regulation when in the UK it will cost hundreds of thousands of £pounds, if not millions to get e-cigs approved.

The many small businesses who have exhibited exemplary ethics and commercial tenacity to extend vaping, and will not have a prayer of affording the costs of compliance.

Professor Chapman is playing right into the hands of "Big Tobacco," who have the resources.

In the UK the government spends annually £300 million (about US$450) on tobacco control and it must really irk Professor Chapman that free enterprise has come up with a solution to smoking, and not "Big Government."

If e-cigs are to be marginalised then this will only mean smoking rates will remain constant. This week it was reported that using "Big Pharma" patches and gum has a 94.5% lapse rate after 1 year. Typically 50% of smokers quit with e-cigs.

Also "Big Tobacco" came now claim that have a virtually harmless alternative and it is now the customer's choice which version they buy, and can now have a relatively clean conscience.

Frankly Professor Chapman "Big Tobacco" has won, free enterprise has defeated "Big Government" and their viability and profits will be assured.

Competing interests: I have been expensed and remunerated by Pfizer who make smoking cessation drugs

14 June 2013
David C Atherton
Chairman Freedom2Choose
Paddock Wood Kent TN12