As ever Clive Bates hits the nail on the head over the egregious pseudo-debate within public health over e-cigarettes:
That’s because they have lost sight of their real goal – which is to reduce cancer and other diseases, not just to campaign for tobacco control policies. But e-cigarettes have arrived like an insurgency, coming from nowhere creating opportunities for smokers rather than restrictions. Public health workers have played no part in this uprising, they haven’t ‘approved’ the products, they don’t know much about them or why they are popular, and most importantly they aren’t in control. I think they are professionally affronted and are responding with a regulatory and rhetorical broadside to fight back.
A classic, unmistakeable case of 'not-invented-here' syndrome. E-cigarettes cannot be an effective tobacco control product for the simple reason that they weren't created by tobacco control professionals or their 'partners' in the pharmaceutical nicotine business.
Gradually - at least among those who have thought about this - the e-cigarette is getting acceptance. Here's Professor Paul Aveyard, Nice guidance developer, GP and Professor of Behavioural Medicine at the University of Oxford:
Professor Aveyard said he will tell patients that using e-cigarettes is ‘better than smoking.'
Now while there's a little 'damning with faint praise' to all this, it's better than the usual 'it looks a bit like smoking so it must be wrong' argument we hear from public health. This neanderthal outlook acts only to ensure the continued success of the cigarette business - banning e-cigs which is what the EU is inching towards would be great for tobacco companies and a poor do for the million plus UK smokers who have already switched to e-cigs.