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On the contrary: ‘I was a smoker, and will always be a smoker’

The real issues are not covered by the media and the health departments across countries.

States in this country may be queuing up to ban e-cigarettes that are now thought to be as harmful as regular cigarettes, but founder of, Mr Heneage (H) Mitchell believes the ban is illogical and not in the interest of smokers at all.

“Who has come up with these guidelines? The health departments have their own agenda and so do the pharmaceutical companies, who finance the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. It is completely against WHO’s democratic principles. The pharmaceuticals are just anxious to protect their own smoking cessation market,” he asserted in a chat with Deccan Chronicle, declaring, “I was a smoker and am still a smoker.”

Based on his almost 15 years as a leading commentator on the tobacco industry across Asia, he believes the regulations are consumer un-friendly and ignore their best interests. Having spent over a decade as managing editor and co-publisher of a leading publication of the region’s tobacco industry, he has witnessed first-hand the enormous changes sweeping the tobacco regulatory environment throughout Asia and deplores what he describes as a ” constant erosion of smokers’ rights and freedoms.”

The real issues are not covered by the media and the health departments across countries. I realised that the justifications for many of the regulations do not stand up to scrutiny.

A harmless alternative to smoking such as the e-cigarette has to face the same regulatory nightmares, which are thrown at the tobacco industry,” he lamented.

Calling the restrictions on consumer access to less harmful alternatives to smoking of conventional tobacco products as “highly alarming,” he stresses that the health departments are misguided.

“But e-cigarette should be subjected to stringent manufacturing standards and that is where the emphasis should be. Banning is not the answer. Vaping is an extraordinary alternative for smokers, who are addicted. Vaping works,” he emphasised, arguing that the ban was not based on fact but ” on the hatred for tobacco products.”

“It is illogical. False opinion is being presented as fact. In fact, they are an effective gateway away from smoking for users, who vape essentially harmless, but addictive nicotine and also wish to avoid the deadly carcinogens, tar and more than 3,000 other dangerous components found in tobacco smoke that leads to the early death of at least 50 per cent of smokers. Independent, peer-reviewed evidence from around the world, particularly from the UK and the EU, where a great deal of effort and time has been invested in researching vaping, clearly shows e-cigarettes to be 95 to 99 per cent safer than conventional tobacco products,” he maintained.

He went on to point out that, “Bodies such as the UK Royal College of Physicians, Public Health England, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), British Lung Foundation, Cancer Research UK, and the Royal Society for Public Health are all espousing the use of e-cigarettes as a viable and desirable alternative to smoking and are recommending vape products to users of conventional tobacco products to wean them away from the deadly risks associated with smoking.”

“The health departments have essentially bought into the line that e- cigarettes are just as harmful as any tobacco product, but where is the evidence? You cannot impose an irrational policy on which the lives of millions of smokers depend.”

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