Why Hong Kong should not treat cigarettes and e-cigarettes the same way
As someone who saw his mother give up conventional cigarettes overnight in favour of e-cigarettes after 40 years of relentless smoking, and witnessed the immediate and significant improvements in her health, I endorse many of the questions asked by Stephen Hughes (“How can city’s e-cigarette ban be justified?”, December 9).
The role of government in the area of public health is surely the reduction in the risk of harm (for there can never be an absolute elimination of risk). So why, as Mr Hughes asks, is there no public acknowledgement of the comparative good of e-cigarettes in their containing fewer carcinogens, rather than the current attitude, seemingly shared by many first-world countries (my mother is Welsh and Wales decided to proudly become one of the first countries to ban the use of e-cigarettes outdoors, a decision which beggars belief when you consider a road network suffering a preponderance of diesel-engine vehicles).
How can a ban on e-cigarettes correspond with a public policy desire to reduce the known risks associated with tobacco cigarettes, when the message projected is that they are indistinguishable in the opinion of the legislature, a view which simply isn’t supported by the scientific evidence?
I have read of political concerns over young people being attracted by the perceived glamour of e-cigarettes as a justification for a ban. Well, politicians either have very short memories or they need to talk to their parents about this. For my mother once told me that cigarettes carried a glamour in popular culture for her and her teenage friends when they were introduced, a glamour to which they succumbed.
And so I ask politicians to explain what – other than this perceived notion of glamour – provides their justification for equating the two products?
Jonathan Lewis, Mong Kok