Giving up smoking should not be a source of profit

Image credit: www.politico.eu
Image credit:
www.politico.eu

It was in 2007 that it became illegal in the United Kingdom for people to smoke in enclosed public places. Accompanied by campaigns led by the National Health Service and other groups encouraging smokers to “kick the habit”, to avoid smoking with children nearby or in their cars, at 10 million in number, fewer people are smoking in the country than previously. Last month’s Ash statistics claim that the number of ex-smokers exceeds the number of current smokers and that the amount of heavy smokers has decreased since the 1970s.

If you take a stroll through your high-street, you may encounter posters in the windows of doctors’ surgeries or hospitals, promoting breaking the addiction and giving up smoking, for the obvious health benefits of the smoker and others. But there are also several outlets that are offering nicotine alternatives. Nicotine Replacement Therapy is a offers an alternative source of nicotine for a smoker, albeit without the tobacco, the fumes or the tar that can build up around a person’s lungs. There are multiple ways of taking nicotine, including in gum, tablets, lozenges or patches. Anyone who has seen images of a smoker’s lungs in comparison to a non-smoker’s, or heard the rough ‘smoker’s cough’, or seen Nigel Farage smile would think that choosing other sources of nicotine seems like a good idea.

But another alternative to smoking tobacco, e-cigarettes, is not proving to be as helpful to smokers.

The tobacco industry is of course aware that the number of customers is sharply declining as science reveals the extent of smoking’s unhealthiness and is determined to continue making profits. The ingenious new idea is an electronic equivalent of the cigarette. Businesses continue to make money from people’s addictions that they may be hoping to break, by convincing them that the new device is a healthy alternative, or something that will help them in giving up smoking altogether. The BBC reports that the annual amount of people giving up smoking has started to decline. The BBC’s interviewed doctor suggested that some smokers might be smoking e-cigarettes indoors and tobacco outdoors, which is somewhat leapfrogging the law. To top it all, some researchers believe that e-cigarettes are even worse for smokers. If anything, there isn’t the comprehensive evidence to suggest that e-cigarettes are beneficial in the struggle against nicotine addiction. E-cigarettes may be ‘smokeless’ but they are not nicotine-less; their consumption continues to stimulate individuals’ nicotine addictions.

In our society there are vulnerable people, of whom should not be taken advantage by businesses. Don’t be fooled by these ‘alternatives’ that sound pleasant or even helpful to people who are trying to improve their lives. Addiction, whether one considers it a complicated matter of biology or vain self-indulgence, is something that should be cured, but few can accomplish this on their own; but companies that keep people addicted to a nicer version of the problem in order to sustain their industry are making money out of people’s problems.

 

Author

  • Comment and Politics Editor 2015/2016, Editor 2016/2017, Alumni & Public Relations Officer 2017/2018 and acting, 2018/2019. Waiting to graduate with MA in Philosophy at University of York in 2019.