It takes something quite spectacular to take my attention away from any of the research coming out of the Prue Talbot labs but I will have to save that for tomorrow or the next day (hint: it comes from an even more disreputable source -Pediatrics Journal- and it has to do with smoking and the movies). But today the Prue.
I just wish to add a few additional points.
1. As opposed to any good news about harm reduction, this half baked nonsense is being repeated from here to India by every news agency without any analysis of the content.
2. The researchers conclude on the basis of their concerns about the packaging and instructions that the product should be removed from the market. To go once again to our beloved seat belt analogy, if there was some substandard accompanying information packet with the seat belts or even the odd one that caused an allergic reaction let’s say, would it seem reasonable to take it off the market considering the alternative (driving without)?
Once a product is off the market the greatest impetus for improvement has been removed. There is no assurance it will ever be let back in whereas in market there are customers to satisfy, and in general, products in the marketplace are redesigned to be more effective and safer over time. (This is really the secondary reason: of course the first is quite simply that removing it will result in the premature deaths of many citizens).
3. For some reason, people are taking more seriously the conclusions about the everyday workings of a product from people who are seeing it for the first time rather than the experience of hundreds of thousands who have already been using it for years.
Anna Trtchounian and Prue Talbot seem to be spilling nicotine all over the place and extrapolate their own clumsiness to the world at large. Of course, if you already believe in third hand smoke, any leakage of nicotine, no matter how small, is a serious concern. However, if you are a normal human being, it really isn’t.
This apparently horribly unsafe product is being used quite safely by the hordes, and might I add, much more safely than they could ever could use cigarettes.
4. This kind of research by those who remain quite alien to both the concepts of harm reduction in general (Prue labs discovering harm reduction cigarettes) or the product they are testing (once has a vision of the apes in 2001 touching the monolith and running away chattering and frightened) seems to be gaining in popularity. Not long ago we had Thomas Eissenberg saying there was not enough nicotine in e-cigarettes for the product to actually be satisfying.
This is unfortunately quite consistent with tobacco and addiction research in general where anti-tobacco researchers and advocates have managed to convince the world that only addiction keeps people smoking (no one really enjoys it).
And even more unfortunately, these few befuddled researchers in their labs, who are able to discount the world outside quite effectively, are having a disproportionate influence on that same world they dismiss.
– Paul L. Bergen