Is it any wonder that many of the officials making decisions regarding the regulations of electronic cigarettes can’t seem to get around an intense anti-smoking agenda? It at least appears that the individuals out there with the power over public health policy are predominantly slanted against electronic cigarettes — mostly because they believe e-cigs to be a re-visitation to old smoking issues.
It seems the individuals making decisions on smoking policy aren’t generally anyone with more than in-direct experience with smoking. Maybe they were involved in smoking research or knew family that struggled with smoking addiction, but what I’m getting at is that the majority of individuals involved in smoking policy — anti-smoking policy that is — aren’t smokers or ex-smokers.
The problem with this is that non-smokers tend to over simplify smoking and the experience of smokers. To them, all smokers are the unfortunate victims of subversive tobacco marketing and nearly irresistible addiction. It’s possible that this writer could be the culprit of oversimplification now too. The point is that they don’t really know the experience of a smoker despite acting like the experts on how to treat them and best control their market.
This is not unlike someone that doesn’t have cancer deciding how best to treat cancer patients, standards of bedside manor, and so on. It’s not to say that reasonable decisions can’t be made by someone only tangentially connected to the problem, but the folks making these decisions certainly need to be open to understanding that smoking is a unique individual experience. It’s personal.
This is the issue with canvas electronic cigarette and smoking policy and treatment strategy. Take someone like Mitch Zeller — the somewhat new head of the FDA’s tobacco enforcement arm. Zeller made much of his career on a take-no-prisoners anti-smoking effort. Now he’s in a position to effect policies against a habit he himself has probably never even considered taking up nor has experienced the difficulties of prolonged efforts to quit.
This is creating problems when it comes to electronic cigarettes. Most of the individuals deciding how electronic cigarettes should be regulated don’t have the experience with smoking to understand why these products are any different or why they are so promising.
Going back to the idea of unique individual experience, current quit methods only work for a very small sliver of the smoking community. If e-cigs can assist any part of that failed quitter crowd with successfully quitting, they should be supported rather than fought.