Friday, 3 June 2022

Competing Interests for Nicotine

 As per usual, this is far from an in-depth analysis, but rather for me to attempt to assemble a few shallow thoughts into print. I shall write about Consumers, Tobacco Industry, Tobacco Control, Bloomberg, Government and hopefully see how each has an impact in relation to one another. 


Nicotine vies with Alcohol and Caffeine as one of the three most popular ***social drugs of choice, but due to many years of negative messaging, has an undeserved awful reputation, widely held by the general public. Smoking has been increasingly vilified since the early 1960's following the Royal College of Physicians report into the dangers. However, since that time few attempts have been made by Tobacco Control to give a complete message to separate Smoking and nicotine in their communications. This lack of clarity is extremely counter-productive, but is increasingly a deliberate ploy in certain countries(notably in the US with the FDA and CDC) to deny safer nicotine products gaining acceptance, thus maintaining smoking rates. 

Consumers of nicotine are unwittingly caught up in this battle of competing interests, they simply wish to have access, but an overwhelming alliance of Tobacco Control, Bloomberg, and Government are making this problematic in terms of price and increasingly hostile messaging and restriction. 

In my personal experience, following 45years of Smoking 40 cigarettes per day, I was initially angry with the Tobacco Industry for having me 'hooked' for that period, but this ire was replaced with mild suspicion towards them over the next 9 years. My increasing anger and disquiet have now been directed towards Tobacco Control, Bloomberg, WHO, and Government who (with a few exceptions) have singularly failed to fully educate the public with full truthful information to allow them to make an informed choice regarding all nicotine products. 

*** note Cannabis could well be replacing Nicotine in certain parts of North America as a more popular option, even as a very occasional user I find this 'concerning' see 

Tobacco Industry 

Rightly vilified for its past marketing and efforts to increase Smoking numbers around the World, viewed with suspicion by many ex-smokers, hated by Tobacco Control and Bloomberg but a lucrative cash-cow by Government(s). They are in the seemingly impossible position of trying to adapt to the requirements of nicotine consumers whilst at the same time receiving zero encouragement and outright hostility from Tobacco Control,Bloomberg and most Governments. The Tobacco Industry has attracted much anger from some nicotine consumers when they have tried to influence legislation to give themselves a competitive advantage over Independent sources as was the case in the EU with vaping. 

Giving a date to cease cigarette production are a frequent demand from Tobacco Control, but if any company attempted to unilaterally adopt this policy, their market happily taken onboard by a competitor and the management replaced by its shareholders. 

Despite the Catch 22 situation the Tobacco Industry seemingly finds itself in, it is an incredibly wealthy enterprise that has had many years to prepare for the inevitable changes it must face, thus very well prepared scenarios must have been well researched by them. Change will happen, but would it happen far sooner with a less confrontational approach from its vehement opponents? 

Tobacco Control 

Legislation to control the sale of cigarettes certainly was a  necessary success of the early campaigners, but increasingly the case in certain countries is a constant demonisation of Smoking that has morphed into all nicotine consumption. This demonisation of nicotine puts Tobacco Control into conflict with nicotine users, certain pragmatic countries such as the UK and increasingly the case New Zealand have a more liberal approach to aspects of nicotine use, but not all-embracing eg SNUS remains illegal in the UK despite its undoubted safety and effectiveness. 

Alarmingly, Tobacco Control around the World seems to be increasingly influenced directly by Bloomberg funded organisations or World Health Organisation (indirectly funded via Bloomberg)....this means that Bloomberg has an unaccountable unreasonable voice (see a recent article here )


Lazily I shall just leave this from Marc Gunther here 

WHO  here


Arguably the peoples' representatives have the greatest opportunity to rise above the various competing interests and to apply policies that can satisfy all quarters in an equitable manner. But, high tobacco taxes and excessive lobbying from everyone but Consumers result in stilted, poor policy making to suit the well-financed lobbyists. Few governments around the World seem to have got the balance right 


I should mention that certainly in the case of Vaping, the Independent sector represents the largest part of the market with approximately 75%, but unscrupulous opponents always portray the Tobacco Industry as the majority number.

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