So, here's my thinking:
1: Mike Russell, the darling of Tobacco Control in the 70s said "Smokers smoke for the Nicotine, but die from the TAR".
2: Our own MHRA defined Nicotine as "A relatively benign drug"
3: Professors Britton, McNeil and Hajek, amongst many others, have likened the effects and risks of Nicotine as being on a par with Caffeine, and vaping as being no more risky or "addictive" than drinking a few espressos a day.
4:Under Tobacco Control inspired rules, ecig vendors cannot, currently, claim Ecigs are used for Smoking Cessation (whether they actually are or not).
With all of that being said, we have rather too many so-called studies and statements starting from the notion that is best exemplified by titles like "Are Ecigs contributing to quit attempts" and "Do Ecigs prevent people from quitting" and other such titles.
We also see too many studies concluding that "Ecigs are being taken up by 'children' aged from 16-25 (yeah, I know, right?) , but they are not using them for smoking cessation".
So, here's a message for everyone in Public Health or Tobacco Control. I'm not going to use big words, so it should be easy enough for all of them to understand. (If you fall into either of those camps and already know this, by the way, I'm not having a pop at you. You could, though, help a bit by explaining what follows to those hard of thinking colleagues of yours who appear to be too thick to get it.)
Read those four points at the top of this article. Ecigs are NOT sold for quitting anything. They are, first and foremost a recreational product. (Sorry, long words - that means they are meant for people to enjoy) . They do, however, have this habit of replacing smoking. (Sorry, long words - that means that people use them instead of smoking, and some people who use them forget to smoke altogether). Not only that, but people who have never smoked, and who try Ecigs before they try smoking tend, mostly, not to try smoking. And the literature tells us that those who try Ecigs before they try smoking, don't go on to become smokers. They might (some do) carry on to become ecig users. But most of them who do that tend not to use nicotine. At all.
Even if they do, though, remember points 2 and 3. Nicotine is a relatively benign drug. Its risks are roughly on a par with caffeine.
What that means is that, yes, some folks who enjoy experimenting with "stuff" will experiment with Ecigs. Some will continue to use them, but won't, very likely, expand their interests to lit tobacco and smoking. This is a good thing. Eventually, there will be more Vapers than smokers, and smoker numbers will, naturally, organically and of their own accord and choice, dwindle and dwindle and move inexorably towards zero. They may never reach zero. That doesn't actually matter.
If Public Health bods and Tobacco Control bods just leave Ecigs alone, their ultimate goal of having the lowest possible number of smokers will be realised sooner than they think. They don't even need to promote Ecigs. They just need to NOT demonise them. They just need to NOT tamper with smoke free laws to try and capture them.
They DO need, though, to stop coming up with bullshit studies designed to scare the living shit out of Vapers and people who might otherwise make the decision to try vaping, and accept that, in the 21st century, Harm Reduction is the way forward.
In short, they need to listen to the likes of David Sweanor, stop being dicks, and leave vaping, vapers, and vape shops to get on with succeeding where they have failed for decades.
Can we get a consensus on that?