No, seriously. That's what has been all over the media today, even on the BBC!
Encouraging smokers to switch to smokeless "fake" cigarettes could save tens of thousands of lives, according to a government-backed report.They're talking about e-cigs. Trust me.
In its first annual report, the BIT said the government should promote the use of "safe" alternatives to cigarettes - products which deliver nicotine in a fine, pure vapour, instead of in harmful smoke which also contains toxins and carcinogens.Or, more to the point, the brains of legislators in said countries haven't been investigated for bits of fluff and rubber band balls which should be cleaned out. Of course, this will never work with the empy-headed morons who run Australia.
However, versions of smoke-free cigarettes are currently illegal in a number of countries, including Canada and Brazil, because their potential side-effects have not been fully investigated.
The Graun chips in with this additional info.
The Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is looking into approving these devices for use. If it finds in their favour, the government is likely to push for them to be placed prominently in shops alongside tobacco cigarettes, where they would be sold at a cheaper rate.This, for the uninitiated, is the concept of harm reduction. And it is a thoroughly good thing. How very encouraging then that the UK government is actually talking in serious terms about adopting it as a policy.
Finally, the 'nudge' unit have managed to shake off their long-ingrained authoritarian mentality and offered something of real benefit. The problem, of course, is that simply deciding that bans on e-cigs won't be pursued anymore - which had been mooted before - will be pretty useless on its own.
What would really help, though, is a bit of common sense being applied to where they are allowed to be used.
Wetherspoons have famously banned them because, well, they're fucking idiots. But misunderstanding is rife amongst proper companies with regard to such a new technology. 'Vape' in any private property which ASH have claimed as being public and you'll face a barrage of questions or, more likely, be ejected before you can point out that they are perfectly legal and not covered by the smoking ban. Being shit scared of crippling fines enforced by a pharma-enthralled government will do that to a business.
It ain't getting any easier either. In the US, hysteria has surely peaked with this quite absurd nonsense from Obama's collection of fruit-loops and wheyfaced arm-wavers.
Smoking electronic cigarettes would be explicitly banned on all domestic and international commercial flights in the U.S. under a new rule proposed by the U.S. Department of Transportation.Because comfort is obviously enhanced for vapers on long flights by banning a harmless device, and confusion is a perfectly valid reason for imposing legislation.
"Airline passengers have rights, and this new rule would enhance passenger comfort and reduce any confusion surrounding the use of electronic cigarettes in flight," U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement Wednesday.
For years, flight attendants have spoken out against electronic cigarettes, saying passengers have confronted attendants over electronic cigarettes because some air travelers argue that the federal tobacco ban does not apply to electronic cigarettes.Yep. It must be so difficult to educate flight attendants as to the legality of e-cigs, and for them to have the inconvenience of doing their job and talking to passengers about it.
Much easier to just pass a law to ban something inconsequential instead in the 'Land of the Free'.
The BBC report reports that Oliver Letwin is quite keen on the Behavioural Insights Team being a success.
[He] told the Lords science committee earlier this year that its ideas were not guaranteed to work, but said it was worth trying as the moves suggested were "pretty cost-free".Perhaps, but in the particular area of
Although there is no UK law on the matter, British Airways, Thomson and Virgin have all prohibited them, as have many cinemas, restaurants and pubs. If e-cigs can only be vaped where smoking is already allowed, where is the incentive to put down the fags and try the electronic version?
It's a start, Oliver, but you're going to have to do better than that. Try chatting to some of your corporate friends over a nice Chablis sometime and asking them to help you out a bit, eh?
Make e-cigs welcome where users would prefer to be smoking (we'd like to have a chat about that, by the way) and you may well have a chance of success. Making them available everywhere but not usable in any place that tobacco is banned will just 'nudge' people towards carrying on with the tried-and-trusted analogue version. You might be well-advised to consider lifting the ban on snus while you're at it, too.
Think joined-up government, Olly, old chap. Or else your nudge initiative will just end up in the bin labelled "stupid ideas like the cones hotline".
UPDATE: Thanks to westcoast in the comments for the 'nudge' (see what I did there?). There is a campaign to normalise e-cig use in the form of CAM-VIP, click here for more information.
UPDATE 2: As expected - and in double quick time - Patsy offers an opposing view, I'd have been disappointed if she didn't. Do go have a read.