To a certain extent the battle over tobacco covers up a profound change - albeit one that the anti-smoking fanatics are opposing. The decision of Lorillard - part of "Big Tobacco" - to acquire an e-cig company tells us that these companies see less risky means of delivering nicotine as a significant growth market (unlike their cash cow of cigarettes).
This decision puts a tobacco company at the forefront of smoking harm reduction:
Through its acquisition of blu ecigs®, Lorillard is now officially in the business of harm reduction and it is devoting a substantial amount of resources to promoting smoking cessation via the use of electronic cigarettes.
The problem is that the anti-smoking brigade will not accept e-cigarettes as a legitimate means of reducing the hard from tobacco use - indeed ASH, the main anti-smoking use is actively trying to ban e-cigs:
Attorneys general in 49 states are being petitioned to ban the further sale of e-cigarettes until their safety can be determined by the Food and Drug Administration [FDA]. They are being petitioned to follow the lead of the Oregon Attorney General's office which has just obtained such court orders, by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), the group whose legal petition, and scheduled appearance on NBC-TV Nightly News, precipitated last week's FDA warning about some of the dangers of e-cigarettes
A proven means of stopping smoking is not recommended by those campaigning for people to stop smoking - unlike a leading tobacco company:
In an irony of epic proportions that is an embarrassment to the anti-smoking movement, the Lorillard Tobacco Company is now promoting smoking cessation among thousands of consumers using electronic cigarettes, while most anti-smoking groups are not.
Believe it or not, here is the actual advice that Lorillard and anti-smoking groups are giving - publicly - to current smokers who are thinking of quitting smoking using electronic cigarettes:
Anti-Smoking Groups: Don't.
But then it's not about smoking any more, it's about control and, too often,acting on behalf of their paymasters in the pharmaceuticals industry - the big competitors to e-cigs.