Saturday, 9 January 2016

The whole point about vaping and harm reduction


So we're sat in a cafe in Bradford having something to eat. Outside the cafe there's a little gathering, about ten or twelve young people - boys and girls - aged 14 or 15. They're behaving exactly like you'd expect young people this age to behave - joshing with each other, lots of braggadocio from the boys, preening and giggling from the girls. All pretty normal and almost certainly a bunch of nice kids.

And three or four of them were vaping.

Now before you get all shocked, imagine the scene a few years ago. A dozen working class fifteen year olds in Bradford away from parents in the City centre - three or four of them would have been smoking good old-fashioned cigarettes. Instead they're vaping - doing something that Public Health England tell us is at least 95% safer than smoking.

It may be that you'd prefer these young people to do nothing - no smoking, no vaping. And maybe you're right in your preference. But if they're going to do something surely it's better they choose the least harmful option? Just like I was back in the 1970s, the young people are doing the naughty thing they're told not to do - in my case it led to being a heavy smoker for thirty years. For these young people their choice means they won't have the coughs, the shortness of breath and the massive risk of lung or throat cancer that I had.

Which is why it's very stupid to try and make vapers and vaping equivalent to smoking.


1 comment:

Junican said...

Good evening, Mr Cooke,

I feel the need to comment on your phrase:

"....and the massive risk of lung or throat cancer that I had."

I suppose that much depends upon what you mean by the word 'massive', but can I quote a few figures from The Doctors Study (1951 - 2001)?
Over 25,000 of the doctors who took part in that study died during the course of those 50 years. Of that total, 1,052 died from lung cancer and 340 from cancers of Cancers of mouth, pharynx, larynx and oesophagus. I'm sure that you can see straight away that the percentage which died from lung cancer was 4% approx and the percentage which died from throat etc cancers was 1.4% approx.
You may consider that 4% and 1% are 'massive risks', but when you consider that those figures mean that 96% of deaths were NOT from lung cancer and 99% were NOT from those other cancers, I would say that the risks are by no means 'massive'.
By the way, at the start of the study, out of some 24,000 doctors aged 35 or over, only 3000 were non-smokers. IE, only some 12% were not smokers. What I am saying is that the absolute risk of dying from lung cancer is pretty small, even though the relative risk is much higher for smokers than non-smokers. Relative risks can be very deceiving.