Over at Tobacco Truth, Brad Rodu has a great little article (link here) on how the rates of cigarette and other tobacco use by youth have been falling over the last decade. Other than it simply being good news, it is, as he points out, important to be aware of this because harm reduction efforts have been hampered by people crying that the alternative products are marketed to, being used by and resulting in larger numbers of kids addicted to nicotine. (Of course, if the main result in promoting smokeless tobacco led to increased youth uptake which then led to smoking, then there would be no reason to support this alternative). Clearly, over the last decade, children have been moving away from tobacco use.
As he succintly sums up: Tobacco harm reduction isn’t a children’s issue. The 8 million Americans who will die from a smoking-related illness in the next 20 years are not children. They are adults who are at least 35 years old. Preventing youth access to tobacco is vitally important, but the issue should not be twisted to condemn cigarette-using parents and grandparents to premature death.
This is a good example of just one of the ways that good and healthier options for smokers are impeded by juxtaposing improbable and fear driven scenarios, and this case even more perniciously, by spreading misinformation. As he points out, harm reduction does not compete with attempts to lower youth smoking, if anything it complements it.