After several years of studying the addiction of tobacco cigarettes and how it impacts public health, Professor Peter Hajek, the Wales public health officer, is launching an unapologetic public defence of electronic cigarette use. In his recent report to the Wales Assembly Members, Hajek said that banning electronic cigarettes was pointless and vaping should be embraced and celebrated to help smokers quit.
The professor believes that banning vaping indoors will typically discourage smokers from switching to electronic cigarettes. "Indoor electronic cigarette bans are pointless because there is no public health threat associated with their vapour."
At the moment, the critics are taking a hard stand on electronic cigarettes, claiming that they would induce nonsmokers into using the real thing and potential nicotine addiction. However, Hajek told the Assembly Members that the argument is totally unfolded, because the evidence we currently have shows that electronic cigarettes are amazingly unattractive to non-smokers. And nicotine itself is not as addictive as people thought: what is addictive is the cigarette.
The professor explained that nonsmokers occasionally try electronic cigarettes out of curiosity, but they rarely advance to regular vapers. Hajek also expressed concerns that ban of electronic cigarettes in public places would discourage smokers from trying electronic cigarettes out of fear for prosecution by the authorities and their health.
When one of the Assembly Members asked him about the potential regulation, he said that, he would vote against any regulation that bans electronic cigarette use in public places. Because the rational that public health experts had for banning smoking was that there is passive smoking risk. Fortunately, there is no passive smoking risk with electronic cigarettes.
Besides, the Royal College of Physicians also opposes the vaping ban in enclosed and substantially-enclosed public areas. The recent scientific report published in the Public Health England shows that vaping is the most popular method to quit smoking tobacco cigarettes. In fact, there is no evidence to support the claim that vaping in enclosed places poses a substantial risk to people inhaling the resulting vapour.
Now, the big question is: will the government of Wales listens to Professor Peter Hajek to suspend the ban? Will the rest of the world listen to the comments of health experts?