Ban sale of cigarettes to anyone born after 2000, doctors say — telegraph

Leading doctors have called for a ban on cigarette sales to those born after 2000 in a programme of «progressive prohibition» aimed at curbing smoking related deaths.

They urged the British Medical Association to lobby for a complete ban on the sale of cigarettes to anyone born in this century at the body s annual public health medicine conference.

Tim Crocker Buqu , a specialist registrar in public health medicine with the NHS, said «Humanity has never developed anything more deadly than the cigarette.

«The combination of its addictive power and devastating health effects combined with historical social norms and powerful advertising campaigns killed 100 million people in the 20th century.»

Dr Crocker Buqu said eight out of 10 smokers began smoking as teenagers and someone who began smoking at 15 was three times more likely to die from smoking related cancer than someone who started in their 20s. «This is a highly addictive product that kills 50 per cent of the users and it is so patently over the balance of harm that we must now work to prevent the next generation from falling into the nicotine trap,» he added.

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Mark Temple, a co chairman of the BMA s public health medicine committee, agreed, adding «If we prevent access to a group that is growing older through time then gradually we will stop easy access to tobacco products.»

But Ian Kennedy, another public health medicine registrar, questioned if banning cigarettes for a certain section of the population was a sustainable policy, and asked why 13 to 14 year olds were being targeted.

Bbc news — electronic cigarettes ‘could save millions of lives’

«The big question, and why we’re here, is whether that goal can be realised and how best to do it… and what kind of cultural, regulatory environment can be put in place to make sure that’s achieved.

«I think it can be achieved but that’s a hope, a promise, not a reality,» he said.

A revolution

This view was echoed by Dr Jacques Le Houezec, a private consultant who has been researching the effects of nicotine and tobacco.

He said that because the harmful effects of its main comparator, tobacco, e cigarette use should not be over regulated.

«We’ve been in the field for very long, this for us is a revolution.

There is concern over the lack of regulation of e cigarettes

«Every adolescent tries something new, many try smoking. I would prefer they try e cigarettes to regular cigarettes.» Dr Le Houezec added.

Many are now calling for the industry to be regulated.

Konstantinos Farsalinos, from the University Hospital Gathuisberg, Belgium, said it was important for some light regulation to be put in place «as soon as possible».

«Companies are all hiding behind the lack of regulation and are not performing any tests on their products, this is a big problem.»

Prof Farsalinos studies the health impacts of e cigarette vapour. Despite the lack of regulation, he remained positive about the health risks associated with inhaling it.

An EU proposal to regulate e cigarettes as a medicine was recently rejected, but in the UK e cigarettes will be licensed as a medicine from 2016.

Healthy rats

E cigarettes are still relatively new, so there is little in the way of long term studies looking at their overall health impacts.

In order to have valid clinical data, a large group of e cigarette users would need to be followed for many years.

Seeing as many users aim to stop smoking, following a large group of e smokers for a long period could be difficult.

But in rats at least, a study showed that after they inhaled nicotine for two years, there were no harmful effects. This was found in a 1996 study before e cigarettes were on the market, a study Dr Le Houezec said was reassuring.

Concern about the increase in e cigarette use remains.

The World Health Organization advised that consumers should not use e cigarettes until they are deemed safe. They said the potential risks «remain undetermined» and that the contents of the vapour emissions had not been thoroughly studied

E cigarettes still divide opinion

The British Medical Association has called for a ban on public vaping in the same way that public smoking was banned.

They stated that a strong regulatory framework was needed to «restrict their marketing, sale and promotion so that it is only targeted at smokers as a way of cutting down and quitting, and does not appeal to non smokers, in particular children and young people».

Ram Moorthy, from the British Medical Association, said that their use normalises smoking behaviour.

«We don’t want that behaviour to be considered normal again and that e cigarettes are used as an alternative for the areas that people cannot smoke,» he told BBC News.

But Lynne Dawkins, from the University of East London, said that while light touch regulation was important, it must be treated with caution.

She said that e cigarettes presented a «viable safer alternative» to offer to smokers.

«We don’t want to spoil this great opportunity we have for overseeing this unprecedented growth and evolving technology that has not been seen before, We have to be careful not to stump that.»