So, Philip Morris has launched IQOS into the UK (London for the moment, which is why I haven't got one in my hands right this very second). For those of you who don't know, IQOS is a "heat not burn" product - you, basically, slip a miniature tobacco stick, complete with filter, into a battery powered heating unit, and drag on it ,much as you would an exit or a fag. It's not rocket science for the user.
Not unnaturally, this launch has attracted a bit of publicity, not least because spokespeople for PM have intimated that, should IQOS technology prove to be popular enough, they may well look towards ceasing production of combustible cigarettes altogether.
Yes, you read that correctly. PMI could, in the future, subject to the right market conditions, stop making fags. They've even said they're looking to working with Government to make that a reality.
Now, if I was heading up an anti-smoking charity (which I'm not), I'd be happy as a pig in shit at that news. I'd be grabbing all my minions and despatching them to the Dept. of Health and various other top level bodies and doing my level best to, as Jean-Luc Picard would say, "make it so".
Cos that's what anti-smoking bodies and charities ought to be about, isn't it?
But no. No. "We don't trust the tobacco companies." "We're not in the business of promoting tobacco products" (which is, actually, very much missing the point - that the IQOS has tobacco in it is entirely specious to the argument - it can be demonstrated to be of much lower risk than smoking, so they SHOULD be promoting such things. You know, like they do with ecigs. Oh... wait...)
They're screaming for independent research into the risk profile. Here's an idea. They leech public money - yes, WE fund them - so let THEM, in the public interest (which it undeniably is) fund the research. Let THEM actually use the money they trough from the public coffers for a good purpose - get it given to an independent and unbiased lab to replicate the studies and confirm or deny the claims.
And when the risk profile is shown to be lower - much lower, I suspect - than combustibles, let them stop being haters in chief on the tobacco companies and actually start considering doping what they should have been doing all along - and that's fighting against the actual diseases they claim are caused by combustibles, and not fighting against the users of such products.
Just a thought.