back to article Tobacco giant predicts the end of smoking. Panic ensues

A few years ago, I interviewed Dr Craig Venter, the man who decoded the human genome, about his plan to save the planet. Venter’s goal was to create a drop-in substitute for hydrocarbon fuels, using genetically modified algae. His algae facilities would be located beside high CO2 sources, and churn out synthetic oil. This …

  1. Hollerithevo

    Organisations perpetuate themselves

    I once worked in a charity that more or less got to its goal (baby-changing rooms in all public places, cubicles on public toilets to accommodate wheelchairs, a few other goals such as that) and I thought 'great! we have made the world a better place and can move on' but no, the workers there were well settled in and wanted to keep their jobs, and the managing committee felt that the charity gave them prestige or a reason for living, and everyone looked around for what else they could do. Eventually their aims and mission statement became so broad that it could have covered catering for WWIII. It did finally die, as funders finally thought WTF and the money stopped coming.

    By that time I was in the City.

    1. MrZoolook

      Re: Organisations perpetuate themselves

      "Organisations perpetuate themselves"

      As soon as I saw that, I thought TV Licensing Authority... weird!!!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tobacco giant predicts the end of smoking. Panic ensues

      That's no surprise...

      The elite doesn't need cigarettes to kill us by the time we'd start costing them pension money anymore.

      They got processed food, GMO food, Fluoride, MSG with 60 different names, High Fructose Corn Sirup, Carrageenan for the vegetarians, an infinite number of highly toxic pharmaceuticals with kick-back programmes and of course, the CIA distributing the other varieties of deadly drugs you can't buy in a pharmacy.

      So, stop smoking all you want, its not going to help you. And they'll get the rest of your savings for torturing you with a cheap and toxic chemo treatment, before they shovel you under.

  2. Alastair Dodd 1

    Vaping isn't cool

    I think you are wrong as I do know people who quit years ago taking up vaping and also kids starting instead of smoking... It's considered non harmful and enjoyable so yeah it's 'cool'

    1. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

      Re: Vaping isn't cool

      Really?? So you'd prefer it if these ex smokers and kids stayed smoking regular cigarettes then? I have no science to hand to convince you that vaping is "cleaner" and less unhealthy than smoking 20 Marlboro lights every day, but from my personal experience I would say that it is. Very much so.

      To be honest though, if a kid is going to smoke - then he's going to smoke. Whether that be analog or digital cigarettes (excuse the parlance). And surely any "less unhealthy" form of smoking is better than a "more unhealthy" form.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge

        Re: Vaping isn't cool

        "I have no science to hand to convince you that vaping is "cleaner" and less unhealthy than smoking"

        A study was done a few years ago in Utah. That's right, Utah. A place where tobacco use is about as 'unfriendly' as you can get, except for certain parts of California.

        Apparently they used a closed-up room in which they burned cigarettes (artificially 'smoked' I think) and then did the equivalent with a vaping device.

        The cigarette-smoke room tested positive for significant levels of various nasty chemicals, including nicotene.

        The vape-"smoke" room tested NEGATIVE for "all of that", _INCLUDING_ nicotene.

        So it appears that vapes aren't sources for second-hand nicotene, at least not in significant quantities.

        I'm allergic to cigarette smoke, or a component of it. Not tobacco, but specifically cigarettes and other things that use "that kind of wrapping" on it. Pipes and cigars don't bug me. Seriously. And I get really *NASTY* headaches if I'm even *NEAR* many people who were smoking a cigarette recently. So no meetings for "at least an hour" with me and 'that person' in the same room, k-thx. However, NO problems with 'vape' smokers that I can tell. Best I can tell, it smells like some kind of sweet perfume or air freshener. No allergic symptoms whatsoever!

        If you ask me, it's really a "personal freedom" thing. The only reason I get pissed off by discourteous smokers [who are a small percentage] is that their self-important "rights" interfere with mine, in particular my right to NOT have to be exposed to toxic substances in public places [or at work, or in a store, or in a bar, or in a restaurant, or in a casino even, yotta yotta].

        So yeah, vaping is a GREAT idea for people to do something they want WITHOUT burdening the rest of the planet with their exhaust. Not *MY* business what others do when it does NOT affect me.

        The ninny-nannies that seek to change people's behavior need to shut the @#$% up and go away. And the discourteous smokers should simply abandon that stupid behavior [it's not helping their cause], obey the laws, etc. and NOT get in people's faces with their exhaust. And people complaining to 'vape' users need to at least look to see if it's a lit cigarette first, before bitching [then, BITCH LOUDLY if it's a lit cancer stick, or shut the HELL up if it's a vape device]. And don't walk up to a smoker just to complain [that's stupid], especially if that person had made reasonable effort to go where nobody else was to light up.

        Then we'd all "get along" right?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Vaping isn't cool

      Most of the kids are vaping 0% nicotine, so it's a million times preferable to them blagging a B&H off an older kid.

      I failed to kick the burning leaves several times over the years, until I discovered vaping. I've reduced the nicotine level to a fraction of its initial strength, and will be soon free of the dependance. I haven't had a "stinky" for two years.

      In the meantime my sense of smell has returned (only took 2 days) and I'm fitter than I have been for years.

      Just a pity that the e-cig market will be soon dominated by the big tobacco companies now they're successfully "convinced" the EU to pass some ludicrous legislation.

      1. ToddR

        Re: Vaping isn't cool

        Surely vaping has similar levels of nicotine as fags? It's not the nicotine that's carcinogenic but the benzene in the tar?

    3. JustNiz

      Re: Vaping isn't cool

      >> It's considered non harmful

      Only by the willfully ignorant or deniers wishing to justify their stupid habit. Vaping is definately better for your health than cigarettes but its wrong and misleading to say vaping is not harmful at all.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Re: Vaping isn't cool


        I agree 100% as a stupid person who took up smoking, it's the number one regret in my life. I've managed to kick cigarettes and turned to vaping but this is not without risk as others would lead you to believe but is far less harmful than a tar sausage.

        Nicotine is a bitch of a drug to kick and is on par with heroin for addiction, don't ever do it in any form.

        1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

          "Nicotine is a bitch of a drug to kick and is on par with heroin for addiction, "

          I knew a couple who were ex-heroine addicts.

          Could not quite smoking.

          I knew then this was pretty bad s**t and any bo***ks about it being "non-addictive" was rubbish.

        2. Pirate Dave Silver badge

          Re: Vaping isn't cool

          "Nicotine is a bitch of a drug to kick and is on par with heroin for addiction, don't ever do it in any form."

          Amen. I took up dipping snuff (aka "smokeless tobacco") as a teen. "Just a pinch between cheek and gum" is like shooting nicotine straight into your brain. I've quit a few times for a year or two, but always wind up back at the Cancer Altar, cursing myself for my inherent weakness of will, wondering which morning it's going to be that I wake up and find a lump in my neck or jaw. It's all downhill from there.

          I was asthmatic into my 20's, so smoking was never really an option for me, and not sure if vaping would be any better. Wife wants me to try it, but, eh, I dunno.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Vaping isn't cool

            I'm an asthmatic and I started smoking aged 14 ( yes, I was stupid at 14, but so was everybody ). I switched to ecigs a couple of years ago and my asthma has dramatically improved.

            Whether vaping would be worse for your asthma than snuff I don't know. Can't ( seriously ) hurt to give it a go, I don't think ?

        3. Grunchy Silver badge

          Re: Vaping isn't cool

          He leaned against the fender of his 1946 GMC half-ton, the fading daylight casting long shadows across the wheatfields, the sunset shining brilliantly behind some clouds low on the horizon.

          He took a draw - held it, swallowed, and slowly exhaled, smoothly, his eyes crinkled towards some birds amongst the bushes at the edge of the field. A sound of flapping wings, and train wheels on the tracks from a couple miles to the North. His jeans were careworn, the cowboy boots dusty & creased with years of duty. The smoke formed a cloud above his head and caught the fading light as the sky turned a deep purplish blue.

          "Kid - nicotine is a bitch of a drug to kick, and is on par with heroin for addiction," he intoned, staring towards the big dipper, effervescing out of the South East. He stubbed out the smoke and flicked it expertly into the dirt at the side of the road.

          "Just don't ever do it in any form." His lean frame settled, thumbs hooked into belt loops, elbows on fender, left heel on a wheel nut. Night was falling.

          "Yep. Just don't even start."

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Vaping isn't cool

            >Night was falling......

            He was late for his doctor's appointment and needed to press the pedal to metal, he'd been coughing up blood and just like some two bit life insurance salesman the cough wouldn't go away. Guess he wished he bought the life insurance now, the wife and kids may sure have need of it.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Vaping isn't cool

          Nicotine by itself is not addictive. I know this because I never smoked cigarettes, and only I took up vaping nicotine to use it as an appetite suppressant.

          Whatever cravings that smokers get, they're not being caused by the nicotine. I use unflavored, plain nicotine juice and I never get any cravings for it, and I've gone for weeks and months at a time without vaping.

          There's a list of 599 known additives in cigarettes that you won't find in plain e-juice, and maybe only a couple of them would appear in a flavored juice. You don't know how many of them goes into your cigarettes because that's a trade secret, but you'll find that many of those listed are known to be addictive and toxic.

          1. BillsBacker

            Re: Vaping isn't cool

            "Nicotine by itself is not addictive."

            Yes. It is.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Vaping isn't cool

        >Only by the willfully ignorant or deniers wishing to justify their stupid habit. Vaping is definately better for your health than cigarettes but its wrong and misleading to say vaping is not harmful at all.

        It's no where near as risky as breathing the air in London or a similar big city.

        Ironically, big tobacco working with the pharma companies selling nicotine replacements, have spent many hundreds of millions trying to prove vaping is dangerous, so far without a single published study in a credible peer-reviewed journal.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Vaping isn't cool

          The vaping apparatus looks just like my great-uncles's 1950s asthma inhaler -- not a cool look!

          1. Semtex451

            Re: Vaping isn't cool

            I suppose you think Jeans that don't cover your ass isn't a cool look either?

            Mines the tracksuit top at the back

        2. Phil.T.Tipp

          Re: Vaping isn't cool

          Bingo. All the hysterical farrago and wrist-flapping associated with eleventh-hand smoke pales into watery insignificance given the fug of carcinogenic particulates which are airborne in all of our urban anthills.

          Diesel (yep, that's all those green buses and trains at fault) is amongst a massive variety of petrochems and other inorganic pollutant nasties including plastics and metals, all happily cycled through the mouths, noses and lungs of all town and city dwellers - and not one peep from the media/'charity' sock-puppets. Not one.

          Smerking tabs is personal choice, simply being alive in the presence of motorways, bus-lanes and train stations is not.

          1. Ben1892

            Re: Vaping isn't cool

            Totally agree about the diesel particulates in Cities, that's been the elephant in the room for some time now. I can't see the anti-smoking lobby become an anti-diesel lobby - much easier to go after vaping as it "looks like smoking so it must be bad for you"

      3. Milo Tsukroff

        Re: Vaping isn't cool

        "...its wrong and misleading to say vaping is not harmful at all."

        Yep, another doomsayer. Everything is "harmful" to one teensy weensy degree or other. By those druthers, even reading The Register can be a little bit harmful, so I should quit the habit.

        I'm going now, mine is the asbestos jacket with the mink lining...

    4. Trigonoceps occipitalis

      Re: Vaping isn't cool

      A few years ago the only friends who had managed to kick the habit had gone cold turkey. Any other method seemed to perpetuate the addiction and didn't, in my friends' experience, work. Now many of them vape. Some claim to be nicotine free but there is no way for me to tell one way or another.

      I think vaping is safer for the "smokers" and the passive vapers - no definitive evidence and who knows what will be discovered in the future. I do not think vaping is a gateway into smoking and I know of no one who is vaping who was not a smoker. Who knows what the next youth fashion will be. Wearing your jeans with the waist around your knees - well that's as sensible as a fashion for vaping.

      My drug of choice is alcohol so I shouldn't pontificate but vaping is better than smoking, but not vaping is best. However bans are crazy and regulation is better. If it is forced underground then who knows what is in the vaping solution, it will be adulterated just as heroin is.

  3. Josco

    I know what's next...

    "Perhaps it's dawned on the more fanatical Public Health campaigners that the end is in sight, and a new cause is needed. "

    Beer! That's next on the list. (Oh how I hope I'm wrong).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I know what's next...

      Hopefully they'll pick a "sin" that I don't enjoy, although I can't think of one off hand.

      1. Paul Woodhouse

        Re: I know what's next...

        Gambling?... I could never be arsed with that one...

        1. Mage

          Re: I know what's next...Gambling

          No chance with state run taxes on the poor, AKA "Lotteries". Used to be illegal in the UK.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I know what's next...Gambling

            Tax on the stupid and innumerate? What's not to like?

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I know what's next...Gambling

            Lotteries aren't about the winning as such. They're a subscription to a dream. The idea that come the weekend, you'll be rich enough to retire.

            That's worth it for me, even though I know I'll never win.

            1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

              Re: I know what's next...Gambling

              yeah ive bought a ticket once or twice and lived that dream until the end of the week.

              but the cold hard mathematical facts stop me doing it anymore,

              Even when the boys in the office go "its a rollover! who's in ?" , I am secure enough to risk the 180 million to one chance that I'll be the only one coming to work monday, and save 2 quid

        2. Matt Bryant Silver badge

          Re: Paul Woodhouse Re: I know what's next...

          Lethargy?....I could never be arsed with that one...

          1. magickmark

            Re: Paul Woodhouse I know what's next...

            I would up vote that remark but I can't be arsed with that

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I know what's next...

          I'm fond of gambling, but I only spend about a fiver a week on it.

          I suppose if they're going to choose one, that's the one I would miss the least.

    2. Ed_UK

      Re: I know what's next...

      "Beer! That's next on the list. (Oh how I hope I'm wrong)."

      NO! Haven't you heard of passive drinking? Think of the childers.

  4. Tikimon

    An Activist's worst day ever... the one where they get what they want. Because then they're not needed, and after the handshaking is done people forget about them. More of them than you know are all about The Struggle, not actually solving anything. And if you do find a solution to a problem, if it's not the one approved choice THEY wanted, well it's not good enough.

    1. Phil.T.Tipp

      Re: An Activist's worst day ever...

      “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”


    2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: An Activist's worst day ever... the one where they get what they want. Because then they're not needed

      e.g. Nigel Farage

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wood behind the trees

    Charities are businesses now. Want to know how much does the head of Oxfam take home? World hunger?

    Some other time - that is why I show them down the street every time they ring on my door.

    The summary of the reaction in both cases is: HOW DO YOU DARE TO INTERVENE WITH OUR DAILY BREAD!!! And the 5 lines a day coke habit if you are in the management layer.

    1. cambsukguy

      Re: Wood behind the trees

      "In the financial year 2012/13, Oxfam's chief executive was paid £119,560, which is in the lower quartile of what other large charities paid for their chief executives.  We believe this is fair reward for a job that involves long hours, large amounts of time away from family and overseeing a £360 million organisation that runs everything from a 700-branch national shop network to major emergency responses and long term development work to improve the lives of the poorest people on the planet. Our chief executive is also responsible for more than 5,000 staff and tens of thousands of volunteers."

      Obviously well-paid but not really that well paid for the job done.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wood behind the trees

        In the financial year 2012/13, Oxfam's chief executive was paid £119,560,

        Fair point.

        There are enough that are paid 500K+ to compensate for that.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wood behind the trees

        "We believe this is fair reward for a job"

        Yes, you have to pay to get the right/best people working for you, well, that's what the bankers said in the decade running up to chaos.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wood behind the trees

      In fairness, Oxfam is a very well run charity and if you want to make a difference with your money, they are a good place to give it to.

      Saying you don't give a charity money because they spend too much on admin is precisely as intelligent as saying you don't buy a company's products because they spend too much money on marketing.

      1. The Boojum

        Re: Wood behind the trees


        Not sure I agree. I actively avoid companies that spend vast amounts on marketing, on the basis that I'd rather have them spend the money on the product I buy than using my money to convince me to buy it in the first place.

      2. ToddR

        Re: Wood behind the trees

        Have to agree, Oxfam = Oracle

      3. Known Hero

        Re: Wood behind the trees


        Saying you don't give a charity money because they spend too much on admin is precisely as intelligent as saying you don't buy a company's products because they spend too much money on marketing.

        I do exactly that, when a company pisses me off with intrusive ad's I will actively avoid them. It's called voting with your wallet and I do it for a few other reasons too.

      4. Ellipsis
        IT Angle

        Re: Wood behind the trees

        > if you want to make a difference with your money, they are a good place to give it to.

        [citation needed]

        How does it compare to the most demonstrably effective charities recommended by GiveWell and Giving What We Can?

      5. Cynic_999

        Re: Wood behind the trees


        Saying you don't give a charity money because they spend too much on admin is precisely as intelligent as saying you don't buy a company's products because they spend too much money on marketing.


        Wrong. I buy stuff to benefit myself, and am pretty much indifferent to whether my purchase is of any benefit to the company I bought it from. Charitable donation are made for a completely different reason, and the benefit of the donation to the "cause" the charity is supposed to be supporting is of the essence.

        Such a low percentage of donations to most organised charities actually serve to benefit the people it is supposed to benefit, that I now only donate money to small outfits that I have actually visited and so am 99% certain that all my money will be used to benefit those I intend it to help. Giving to a street beggar is perhaps the safest way to ensure that nobody except the intended recipient will cream anything off the top. (And you have no right to insist that said beggar use your donation only for things that you approve of).

        1. Kiwi

          Re: Wood behind the trees

          (And you have no right to insist that said beggar use your donation only for things that you approve of).

          Ask someone who is homeless due to legitimate reasons (eg recent earthquake has cost them their home and business) how they feel about people who would use said money for drugs, and the effect those people who use that money for drugs have on the likelihood of other people donating to help homeless or similar causes.

          Those who waste the very limited donations not only waste resources that could be better used, they also cause more problems because people who would donate to someone who is truly in need unfortunately start to think all homeless are alike.

          It's absolutely reasonable to expect that your donation be respected.

  6. goldcd

    It's the problem all campaigners have

    Your job is as equally tied to the "problem" as your notional enemy.

    However your "enemy" can diversify into anything they want.

    Pick your battles carefully, be "against cancer" or "rising sea-levels" - not anti "smoking" or "hydrocarbon CO2".

    Allows you to pivot on your target, without coming across as a self-serving crank.

    I mean ffs, some of us still like smoking - but pro-cancer is thin on the ground. The only reason you wouldn't appeal to the broader market is because there are already big-boys there. You went niche, and you're reaping.

  7. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

    I think you just nailed it Andrew...

    "Was their real goal saving the planet? Or did they just hate people deriving pleasure and utility from the use of cars and cheap air travel?"

    I think the answer is most certainly yes to the latter. There is also a lot of free money in NGO work.

    1. Youngone Silver badge

      Re: I think you just nailed it Andrew...

      The major anti-smoking lobby group where I live drives all of it's funding from taxpayers, something like $20 million per year last time I looked.

      They are exactly what this article is about, starting quite reasonably with getting smoking banned in work places and busses and whatnot, but their latest goal is to have smoking made illegal here, which on the latest figures would put about 15% of the population in prison.

      I'm pretty sure they're now in the business of staying in business.

    2. Captain DaFt

      Re: I think you just nailed it Andrew...

      "Was their real goal saving the planet? Or did they just hate people deriving pleasure and utility from the use of cars and cheap air travel?"

      "I think the answer is most certainly yes to the latter. There is also a lot of free money in NGO work."

      It's a mindset. I call'em PATs, People against things, They define themselves by what they're against. The more common and public the thing, the better.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "PMI claims.......... and that iQOS has a 70 per cent quit rate, higher than vaping products on the market today"

    Utter testicles. I'd make all tobacco executives smoke (or use the iQOS) for at least a year then get them to try and kick a nicotine habit.

    Thank you for smoking, a great film.

    1. Steven Raith

      It's not impossible, frankly - although I'd be interestedin seeing a year quitrate; most quitrates are based on 30 days, I'm not sure what PMIs data is.

      Bear in mind I'd also wager that rate isn't Smoke cigs > use IQOS > stop everything. It'll be smoke cigs > use IQOS. if IQOS is legitmately some 90% safer, then you're getting 90% of the benefits of quitting, without the <5% quit rate that quitting has.

      If you have 70% of people getting 90% harm reduction, that's a massive, staggering improvement over <5% of people getting 100% harm reduction from a public health standpoint.

      For my brother, for example, it might be useful - he's never seen the appeal of normal vape products, so these heat-not-burn ones, which still taste of baccy (something vapes just can't do Because Physics, might be relevant to him.

      I'll post something longer in here tonight, methinks.

      Steven R

    2. Kiwi

      Utter testicles. I'd make all tobacco executives smoke (or use the iQOS) for at least a year then get them to try and kick a nicotine habit.

      But nicotine's not addictive1. It's fairly easy to quit. I've done it myself, as have many others, without withdrawal or other side-effects (aside from some coughing up all sorts of interesting stuff once my lungs realised their suffering was over).

      Problem is we have groups like those in ASH, probably some in the tobacco industry, and others who basically brainwash with repetitive statements that nicotine is addictive. It's not.

      1ref Alan Carr's "Only way to stop smoking permanently"

  9. Dominion

    All about the money....

    The big tobacco companies missed the boat on vaping and are now looking for a new cash cow to prop up their bank balance?

    1. Steve Evans

      Re: All about the money....

      Oh they haven't. You should see all the rules and regs that are about to come into full force.

      The tobacco legislation does more to screw small, independant e-cig manufacturers, and juice suppliers, than anything I can think of. I have no idea how that could have happened...

      Only huge companies will be able to work in the market... Oh look, here come BAT and Philip Morris.

    2. Mage

      Re: All about the money.... big tobacco companies missed the boat on vaping

      I don't think they did. They were behind some. This is obviously stage II.

  10. EvilGardenGnome

    Should I stay or should I go?

    The name "The New Static Movement" fills we with an inordinate amount of glee. Don't care how original, derivative, or psuedo-ironic (whatever the hep cats are saying nowadays) it is; it just made me smile.

  11. far2much4me

    I find there are often two types of activists:

    The first are the crusaders. Their existence is defined by the "devil" they attack. If the devil goes away, so does their purpose.

    The second are those with material (i.e., money) interests. In many areas, cigarettes (and alcohol, and...) are taxed to treat the health issues caused by the offending substance. If people quit, then the tax revenue dries up and they lose their jobs (and careers).

    So, yes, when their bluff is called, don't expect universal joy.

  12. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    iQOS and cannabis

    I wouldn't be surprised to see iQOS would do exactly the same thing for cannabis as tobacco. It's being legalised in more places, most people realise that inhaling smoke from burning vegetable matter is not safe, so look for other delivery methods, but want quick hits rather than the slow onset from eating dope. I seem to recall PMI actually trade marked various names for joints in the 60s, so are not unaware of the potential market. And this system looks very much like a razor and blades style device, with the basic iQOS unit needing a regular supply of consumables.

    1. Steven Raith

      Re: iQOS and cannabis

      Pretty sure dry 'herb' burners have been a thing for a couple of years now; IQOS is simply a big tobacco manufacturers attempt at it, using pre-packaged tobacco 'nubs' - functionally, they do the same thing.

      Bit like Vype e-cigs and regular vaping devices; The vype is based around slightly older tech, arguably more simpler and more stable, better suited to be 'certified' by public health than the bleeding edge stuff that most vapers use.

      Big tobacco vape devices, for example, haven't embraced temperature control as yet.

      Steven R

  13. Steve Evans

    Well of course they can now see stopping the burning leaf production, they've managed to push through all the laws required in Europe to push any small players out, and now they can dominate the vaping market.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    About the algae ...

    research still continues (real research which is why it's avoided by the pop-science of MSM).

    The key is unlocking the mechanism cells use as a clockbase, so that reactions occur faster and make the process *economically* viable.

    An interesting byline of this avenue, is the "discovery" (hippies knew it in the 60s) that cells - and biological organisms - have their own rhythms that can dramatically affect the metabolisation of drugs. Together with a genetic dimension on the effectiveness of drugs, personalised medicine is pretty much upon us.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Here's a story about vaping

    A colleague who had replaced smoking with vaping a couple of years ago recently underwent treatment for stomach cancer. I was having a smoke outside the office when I saw him puffing on a cigarette. I was a little surprised, and told him so.

    He told me that during his treatment one of his doctors told him that it was seldom possible to identify a single cause of stomach cancer. However, they had noticed a strong correlation in recent years between vapers and stomach cancer. So, having survived the treatment he was now back on tobacco.

    Even as a smoker I have to admit to some perplexity as to why people think inhaling the vapour of an unknown chemical represents a "safer" alternative to smoking. I didn't trust it in the first place.

    Anonymous because a) anecdotal, b) correlation does not imply causation, c) my colleague's privacy.

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: Here's a story about vaping

      "the vapour of an unknown chemical" -- AC

      Not really that unknown. The vapour is water, glycerol, polyethylene glycol, nicotine and flavourings. Unless you are getting really dodgy liquid the nicotine will be pure and the PG and flavourings will be food grade. PG has been inhaled for 70+ years in asthma inhalers, so I think a correlation with stomach cancer would have popped up before now. We probably need to wait till 2025-30 to see how safe vaping really is, but it is already easy to see that it is not as dangerous as smoking by a country mile. So much safer that the Dr mentioned may well be increasing the population risk simply by expressing his almost certainly unjustified opinion* in a careless manner.

      *if they had really noticed a strong correlation, unless it has only just been observed, they would have published something.

      1. ToddR

        Re: Here's a story about vaping

        Agree, Dr doesn't equate to scientist

      2. paulll

        Re: Here's a story about vaping

        "PG has been inhaled for 70+ years in asthma inhalers, so I think a correlation with stomach cancer would have popped up before now." Sola dosis facit venenum...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Here's a story about vaping

      I still think if I have a choice between stomach and lung cancer, I'll have the stomach cancer thank you.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nw for the unanswered question ..

    OK, I just dug through the "You must be 18 and in the UK and this high before you can access this" website (thanks to my VPN to the UK because I don't live there :) ) and the site it links to for "scientific" data and there is a significant word absent from the discussion: addiction.

    Addiction is one half of the twofer hold on customers, the part that keeps them hooked long enough to firmly embed the second part: a habit. There is not a word, no examination, no discussion about addictiveness of the "product". The few people I know that still smoke are invariably searching for something that will cut their habit. Even when they modulated the addiction itself by vaping, they are still stuck with the habit.

    However, traveling around I did notice that the UK does have significantly fewer smokers than in other countries I go, so I guess it makes sense for Philip Morris to try and flog a new addition (and subsequent habit) where its market is failing - and it thus needs the addiction factor.

    Which is not discussed. Funny that.

    1. Steven Raith

      Re: Nw for the unanswered question ..

      Addiction without harm is not really a problem. Look at coffee - most people get seriously grumpy if they don't get their morning sup, but most people woudln't consider that a moral dilemma because caffiene is generally agreed to Not Be A Problem from a health standpoint. This device doesn't produce actual smoke, which is what does >90% of the damage of smoking, natch.

      You can argue financial harm, but people who move from smoking to a heat not burn product like IQOS were already in financial harm anyway, and the price of entry is a bit high for people to start on these (£45, £8 for 20 'refill' sticks).

      Mix that with nicotine actually not being notably addictive when not mixed in with some of the more interesting components of tobacco smoke (which this device doesn't generate, from all accounts) then there's a reasonable chance that it should be less addictive, and so should be less of an ethical issue in terms of use.

      I'm not as up on the IQOS as I am on vaping, hence there being a lot of 'should' in this post ;-)

      Steven R

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If people want to "put a cumbersome contraption to their mouths, and exhale perfumed steam", some people would still prefer it if they don't do it in an enclosed space where other people have to breathe it.

    Sure, the health risks are supposedly lower (though this seems to be contradicted sometimes) and it doesn't smell so bad. But some would rather people just don't fill the air around them with whether they fancy doing at a time, be that spraying actual perfume, spraying farts or blowing perfumed vape residue.

    At least with farters you can excuse them for having a genuine accident or medical condition rather than the truly obnoxious part of smokers' demands - "I want to do this so everyone else will share whether they like it or not". Either get the agreement of everyone around you or bugger off outside.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "If people want to "put a cumbersome contraption to their mouths, and exhale perfumed steam", some people would still prefer it if they don't do it in an enclosed space where other people have to breathe it."

      You could say the same about people who overdo the aftershave, deodorant or perfume too. And those smells are with them all day, not just the few minutes they are having a vape.

      And FWIW, there a plenty of vaping devices which are not "cumbersome contraptions" and don't look like huge bongs. Many are smaller and less conspicuous than a normal pipe, never mind the emotive image you are trying to generate.

      1. Kiwi

        You could say the same about people who overdo the aftershave, deodorant or perfume too. And those smells are with them all day, not just the few minutes they are having a vape.

        No excuse. I'm allergic to certain compounds/chemicals, something found in most perfumes/aftershaves/deodorants and also many cleaning chemicals. Your vaping may be harmless to most people, but you have no right to pollute other's airspace and in some cases potentially cause a medical problem for someone.

        Even when I smoked, I always took it away from non-smokers except in a few circumstances (eg where I was at home, in my bedroom or garage and the non-smoker chose to stay), just as a courtesy. If what you choose to do has a reasonable risk of harming or annoying someone (and harm can include lost productivity), take it out side or don't do it. Don't try to excuse it on the basis of "not as bad as smoking..."

  18. Spudley

    I'm all for this.

    As a non-smoker, my biggest issue with smokers isn't that they're killing themselves or look stupid or anything like that... it's simply that they stink, and they make the air around them stink. The ban on smoking in restaurants is the single best thing that's ever happened to the catering trade, simply because the food now tastes like food and isn't masked by a stale fug from other people's cigarettes.

    The unfortunate thing about vaping that nobody seems to be mentioning is that it also stinks. Sure, it stinks differently to cigarettes and I agree the smell isn't as bad as cigarette smoke, but it is still unpleasant to be walking along the street and catch up with someone surrounded by a haze of vanilla extract, or whatever. Some of them are really strong and I've actually found myself feeling a bit light headed just from walking too close behind someone who's puffing away at a vape-stick.

    But despite that, I welcome the appearance of vaping as an alternative to cigarettes. I hope PMI are right and it does mark the end of the cigarette. But I do also hope that we can port across the legislation that restricts smoking in enclosed spaces and make it work for vaping as well.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Do you drive a car ?

      1. Trilkhai

        I can't speak for GP, but I drive a car. Driving or being in a running car doesn't set off my migraines or asthma attacks, even when we're having a "Spare The Air" day — unlike being close to someone who is or recently has smoked a cigarette or pot or (to a lesser degree) is wearing perfume/cologne.

        The only thing that has come close to affecting me like that was the "Code Red" severe air pollution I experienced when I visited Washington DC one summer in college.

        On that topic, the one relevant study I've been able to find indicated that secondhand smoke in standard bars exposes people to so much fine particulate matter that it'd merit a "Code Red" air quality index warning:

        The air outside those establishments was a "Code Green" AQI rating and had only 1% to 3% of the respirable particles found inside.

    2. Jess

      re:it also stinks

      That is down to flavourings.

      I am very sensitive to cigarette smoke, aerosol sprays etc. The unflavoured eFags are fine. I can sit in a car with someone using one.

      But the flavoured ones are a totally different matter. Some of them are almost as bad as real cigarettes. I couldn't sit in a car with one.

      I think light use of unflavoured ones should be at the discretion of the businesses, and flavoured ones should be treated the same as cigarettes.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You don't like the smell of vanilla?

      Or life must be hell for you! That's ruled out most of the cheaper aftershaves!

      Yes, there is a smell to vaping, which varies greatly depending on the flavour, but it doesn't hang about and stick like tobacco smoke, it's gone quicker than the fug of perfume following a little old lady.

      A lineup of smokers, vapers and neither would have you pick out the smokers in about 2 seconds... But you'd never manage it with the vapers.

  19. Mage

    Philip Morris Activities

    This is a momentous claim: cigarettes (and rolling papers and various cig accoutrement) are all Philip Morris does today.

    They have been making the tobacco based eCigarette for some while and selling it in Japan for nearly 9 months.

    I think they or other tobacco companies did other eCigs and have been involved in advertising them. Some have alleged in a way attractive to youth, or that appears to portray smoking.

    I'd expect it will be hard to get actual facts about eCigarettes of either kind due to Tobacco company paid for lobbying and "trials".

    1. Korev Silver badge

      Re: Philip Morris Activities

      I've seen some presentations from PM on their systems biology and HPC and it looked like very interesting and cool stuff until you remember what they're selling...

  20. David Pollard

    A curious coincidence

    PMI spent $3bn developing the vaping technology.

    That's exactly the sum that, just a short while ago, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan promised to fund "a medical initiative to cure, prevent or manage all known diseases by the end of the century."

  21. W4YBO

    Good intentions or the desire for control?

    "But public health does not appear to be a priority for the many in Public Health, just as saving the planet wasn’t really the priority for people who said they wanted to Save The Planet."

    For some folks, it's more about controlling the behavior of others than doing "good". Any eleemosynary organization will collect at least a few folks like that. It's awful easy to hide a controlling personality with supposedly good intentions. That's why the "Road to Hell" has such nice pavement.

  22. Gerry 3

    Vaping does normalise smoking

    'Normalisation' is a perfectly good argument against vaping. The tobacco companies will always support anything that promotes the acceptability of smoking tobacco or raises its profile, no matter how subtly. Get 'em young !

    Fifty years ago, one of the ploys was 'sweet cigarettes', a sugary edible lookalike. Of course, it didn't make any five year old dash out, buy a packet of 10 cancer sticks and start puffing away, but it helped to sow the seeds of association, implying that one day you'd be old enough to use the real thing.

    Today they'd love vaping to be allowed everywhere, including No Smoking areas, because it makes it harder to spot anyone smoking tobacco: try distinguishing a vaper from a smoker on CCTV. Fortunately, this has failed because almost all organisations include vaping in smoking bans.

    Besides, who knows what's in the vaping goo? Of course, they'd never flavour it with anything addictive or something that research showed created a craving for tobacco, would they?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Vaping does normalise smoking

      So you don't like vaping. Kind of a convoluted way of saying so.

    2. Steven Raith

      Re: Vaping does normalise smoking

      Smoking is already considered normal.

      And has never been 'un-normal'.

      There is absolutely no evidence of a gateway effect (which is what the normalisation argument always points to), there never has been; the only gateway the evidence shows - and population level data is good evidence - is of a gateway for smokers, away from smoking.

      Relevant data from ASH, an anti smoking, and frankly anti-vaping org

      "Use of the devices is confined to current and ex-smokers and use amongst never smokers remains negligible and has not changed since 2012. Over time the proportion of current electronic cigarette users who smoke tobacco has fallen and the proportion who are ex-smokers has risen (figure 1)."

      " In March 2013 an additional survey of children aged 11 to 18 was conducted, the ASH Smokefree Youth survey. This has been repeated annually since then. For use among children please see the ASH factsheet. In summary the ASH Smokefree Youth Survey shows that regular use of electronic cigarettes amongst children and young people is rare and is confined almost entirely to those who currently or have previously smoked"

      You can have your 'concerns' and 'worries', I'll stick with actual evidence using data relevant to the population, by an organisation that is tacitly (and in the past has been openly) anti-vaping, because even the don't agree with your assessment of the situation.

      "Today they'd love vaping to be allowed everywhere, including No Smoking areas, because it makes it harder to spot anyone smoking tobacco"

      That would be because it's not tobacco, and it's not smoking. This is fairly straightforward stuff.

      "try distinguishing a vaper from a smoker on CCTV. "

      You look for hte one who's always leaving a trail of smoke behind them. That's the thing with lit tobacco - it doesn't go out between puffs.

      That, and you know, cigarettes don't have a fist sized, brightly coloured battery pack attached to them...

      "Besides, who knows what's in the vaping goo? Of course, they'd never flavour it with anything addictive or something that research showed created a craving for tobacco, would they?"

      The people doing serious research into harm from vaping, and who can't find any notable harm, even to the end user, and strong evidence of a lack of harm (or barely any interaction) to bystanders.

      And all your arguments? Half truths and outright lies pushed by none other than the public health bodies who are repeatedly told that their facts are out of date, being taken out of context, or flat out lies.

      What industry does that remind you of...?

      Steven R

  23. MatsSvensson

    Poor poor Mr tobacco peddler.

    How will he afford booze for his baby now?

    1. Steven Raith

      Well, when they ban everything but cigalikes in the US, they'll sell shitty e-cigs, I'd imagine.

      Because PMI and their ilk will be the only ones able to afford to take devices to market - none of the indies will be able to afford to go through the (lit tobacco oriented) testing process, estimated at >$1m per device, or per liquid (which includes differing nicotine strengths - so one flavour in four strengths, circa $4m).

      Most independent liquid producers have ten flavours in four strengths.

      Do the math.

      Steven R

  24. harrya

    PM is obviously targeting male smokers - women will take one look at the stick and want to pee on it.

  25. MrHorizontal

    The Illiberati

    My definition for all these "liberal" campaigners, when as soon as the game changes and the argument becomes moot, they don't accept it and stfu.

  26. D-Coder
    Thumb Up

    Replacing a problem with a better problem is practically the definition of progress.

  27. Grunchy Silver badge

    95% safer than smoking???

    I'm all over that. My dad had a lung operation from lung cancer (smoker risk group), my little brother died from lung cancer (smoker risk group), and my mom is in the smoker risk group.

    I'll tell her to use iQOS today! Is it available today?

    Nobody else smokes. I wonder who vapes...

    1. Long John Brass


      Plenty of "Starter kits" from various Vape shops

      That's how I made the switch from tobacco

      The trick I used that seemed to work the best was the following rule

      If I wanted a smoke then I would have a couple of puffs from the eCig, if I still wanted a smoke then I would. Within 3 months I had stopped smoking tobacco without really noticing it. No pain, no muss, no fuss.

      I think that is one of the reasons why the anti-smoking crowd simply HATE eCigs the migration from tobacco to a cleaner safer alternative doesn't come with enough suffering for the user.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @Grunchy

        I bought an e-cig kit, tried it, checked it gave me my dose and I didn't feel the urge to stab anyone after not having a "real" ciggy, finished the packet of stinkies and went straight onto the e-cig.

        A couple of times I've been caught out without a spare element or run out of juice whilst out, and if I'd still been switching back and forth between stinky and vaping I would have just gone an bought another packet for my fix, but as I had drawn a line, and have a date I stopped burning leaves, my will power was able to hold on until I got home for a juice fix.

        These days I have my "kit" bag, which has all the spares I could possibly need, and I very firmly class myself as a non-smoker. Can't stand the smell... They stink!

  28. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "The really interesting part came when I called up Friends of the Earth for a comment."

    Be honest now. Did you really expect any other reaction?

  29. Schultz

    Two thumbs up for vaping...

    it reduces the annoying side effects for bystanders by an order of magnitude.

    Next up: vaping of legal Heroin and other hard drugs. That will also reduce unpleasant side effects, namely petty crime, organized crime, destroyed life's of addicts,... If you don't believe me, then go read up on the drug programs in Zürich in the 90s. I was there and saw it work.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Smokers and vapers suck!

    Prove me wrong!

  31. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge


    I'm interested in these "notable health benefits" that weren't noted in the article.

    If these are its potential medical uses, Philip Morris also isn't a pharmaceutical company targeting the drug at specific therapies.

    1. Steven Raith

      Re: Nicotine

      The health benefits are likely from removal of harm.

      Going from not being able to climb three flights of stairs without wheezing like a broken pair of bellows (smokers), to being able to do it twice in ten minutes without really caring (vaping, likely this IQOS thing too), is a health benefit, I'd argue...

      Steven R

    2. HaydnH

      Re: Nicotine

      If you click the (R) links it will take you to the research documents behind each claim.

  32. MJI Silver badge

    I just do not trust tobacco companies at all

    Completely not trusted, they are only in it for themselves and no one else.

    As to enclosed spaces, smoking is bad, but when it comes to obnoxious smells not enough exposure to vapers to know yet, but no one mentions the strong perfume/aftershave, the egg sandwich addict, these are pretty horrible in an enclosed room.

    So you have a few groups.

    The anti tobacco people

    The anti smoking AND vaping people

    The anti air pollution people

    If someone is anti vaping AND trapped with egg sandwiches OK, but if they hate vaping and accept those sandwiches, they are being anti the people.

    1. Steven Raith

      Re: I just do not trust tobacco companies at all

      I think a lot of it is context awareness. IE I work in an office with glass walls on one side open to the rest of the staff, with four other people. The office is big enough where I can have a couple of draws on my (small, mouth to lung) device without fogging the room up or annoying anyone. To the extent where they'll occasionally ask me to puff around a bit of it to mask the smell of a hot lunch we've ordered in, etc.

      Now, if I were to be using my monster rebuildable tank in here, one lung hit would cause one hell of a cloud, and a few would probably fog the room up noticably.

      So twice a day, I give myself a break from my monitor, pop out to the car park and fog that up instead for a few minutes.

      Generally speaking, most of these issues can be sorted with a 'vape with consideration' sign at the front door of a building, with explicit exemptions for some areas; I don't vape in our colo space at all, for example.

      Nothing too complicated about it, it's all about common sense.

      Also, point of interest, the tobacco industry has only a partial foothold in the vaping market (crappy cigalikes etc) - and they're obsessed with expensive to run closed systems. Almost every device you see people using on the street will be from an independent manufacturer, who have no ties to the Tobacco industry whatsoever.

      Steven R

  33. slhilly

    Yes, of course, you're absolutely right, Andrew. Public health campaigners aren't in fact doctors dedicated to improving health for everyone, they're all just thin-lipped puritans. And they've got no reason whatsoever to be cautious about accepting a tobacco company's claims about the relative risks of its new product. Except of course for the decades of lies and misinformation that spewed out of Big Tobacco.

    It speaks to a particular mindset when, given the choice between taking PMI at face value and taking public health campaigners at face value, you go for the former.

    1. Kiwi

      It speaks to a particular mindset when, given the choice between taking PMI at face value and taking public health campaigners at face value, you go for the former.

      Given how they've gone on about numerous other things, it is fairly certain that many "public health campaigners" feel that they missed out on their true calling in life - running a concentration camp.

      Some are in it for the right reasons, but many are in it to control others. Usually at the expense of things others find pleasurable, and certainly at the expense of things that have proven health benefits (eg certain cannabis derivatives).

  34. slhilly

    Oh, and on the GM algae point

    1. It's 20 years on and hasn't delivered shit

    2. It attempts to address CO2, which is self-evidently a massive issue, but wouldn't do jack for air quality, noise levels, vibration levels from running engines, congestion, obesity levels etc etc. There are better solutions that address more of the issues

    3. It brings its own potential risks and downsides. It isn't obvious that producing large amounts of GM algae is a good thing.

    So it's really not that surprising that FoE was cautious about GM algae vapourware and was more inclined to look at cycling, public transport infrastructure etc as better solutions.

    Nor, tbh, is it a surprise that you are continuing to moan about their mean rejection of your favoured technofix many years later, despite much better technofixes coming along since then (Renault Zoe, anyone?)

  35. Kiwi

    Have said it many times.

    Perhaps it's dawned on the more fanatical Public Health campaigners that the end is in sight, and a new cause is needed.

    I'm an x-smoker (Alan Carr easy way/only way books - I strongly recommend them if you want to quit!), but I'm one who respects other's rights/desires to smoke, and certainly I am against bans on smoking outdoors and where all people in a work place smoke (especially if it's a single employee) then they should be able to smoke at work as well.

    Anyway, I've always maintained that when ASH and the other nitwits can no longer hound smokers, they'll look for something else. Even when we're all living an average lifespan of 40,000,000,000,000 years and eventually die by our choice in sick-of-living-suicide-machines (eg Futurama), they'll still be hounding people about things that might be enjoyable injurious to their health.

    Worst of all.. If it wasn't for several of the campaigns by these people (especially "Quitline" in NZ), I would've been able to give up smoking at least 10 years before I managed to do so. Wonderful policies like banning the sales of single cigarettes meant that if I had stopped for say a week and a half, had an issue and really felt a need to smoke, instead of being able to buy one smoke to tide me over I had to buy a whole packet. Which, since I had them there, might as well have another one tomorrow morning, and another just after lunch, and fuckit might as well finish the packet....

    Sooner we execute all the health nuts the better! (joke alert in case some nutjob misses the icon!)

  36. Andus McCoatover

    On quitting smoking...

    I desperately want to quit, as a 30-a-day gasper for 45 years.

    So, went to doctor, prescribed 1x 28-day course of Champix, and another 56-day course after that.

    Fine. First course was a swingeing €102 - I'm on the dole, get €520 every 28 days. KELA (our NHS/Obamacare/whatever) doesn't discount the pills. They worked. Take as prescribed (they increase the dose over 7 days - you can still smoke, until you no longer feel the need to - in my case, a Marlborough had no effect after about 10 days)

    I did alright - maybe 2-3 ciggies/day, nil towards the end of he course.

    Then I went to get the next 'course'. €220. I could choose to quit smoking, or eat. As 'roll-ups' are much cheaper, I simply carried on, even though sometimes I couch so much with 'rollies' that I sometimes pass out.

    I CURSE the day I had my first Players #6 behind the bike sheds when I was 14...

    1. Kiwi

      Re: On quitting smoking...

      I had similar issues, very little income and non of the decent tools were funded by our government. Gum (yuck, and only made me smoke more) and patches (very allergic to the adhesive, one and only time I tried them I collapsed within a few minutes of putting the patch on, probably would be dead had I been home/alone) yes, but other stuff no.

      Someone gave me a copy of "The only way to stop smoking permanently", I read it and followed the instructions. Few years later, never looked back.

      I know it seems difficult to believe, but it really does work for most people - so long as you follow the instructions in the book.

      I couldn't afford it myself, so my brother brought a second-hand copy of the book for me. I later passed it on to a friend who was in much the same situation.

  37. Orv Silver badge


    I think Friends of the Earth just knew a greenwashing project when they saw one. Exxon's investment was a fig leaf, and nothing else; the project did not come to fruition, and was never intended to.

    Vaping, on the other hand, has already been demonstrated to work, and I'm fine with the big players getting on board. I have a couple friends who smoke that I'd really like to see switch, because I want to have them around for a while.

  38. John Savard

    Free-Market Ideology

    While I do think that society will need to be willing to ignore the pressure groups and find real solutions, the environmentalists and anti-smoking activists aren't the sort of total hypocrites they're being painted as here.

    Vaping gives people a way to transition into smoking as well as out of it; so it could be more attractive than cigarettes to young people taking up the nicotine habit. That's a legitimate concern.

    And microbe-made gasoline might not be as much of a perfect, no-consequences solution as fewer cars on the road for any number of reasons, such as local pollution other than greenhouse gases.

    It's human nature for people to get more enthusiastic about a cause when it's wrapped up in a complete ideological system, as opposed to being pragmatic about a specific problem. This is a reason for us to think for ourselves, and not take their advice uncritically, but it's not a reason to condemn them as dishonest and hypocritical.

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