The government’s position on vaping (Editorial, 30 January) is hopelessly confused, aided and abetted by a similar ambivalence among UK physicians who regard vaping as both good and bad. We are not well placed to convincingly persuade our youth that vaping is highly addictive and potentially poisonous, while we are enthusiastically promoting it as a quit-aid for adults – on which its track record is poor other than as part of an interactive smoking-cessation programme. Meanwhile, we are in bed with big tobacco, presiding over an explosion of vape usage in our schools that cannot now be controlled because its users are hooked on nicotine.
We have connived at prolonging nicotine addiction and disease into another generation (the holy grail of the tobacco industry), at the very moment in history when smoking had started to become “denormalised” and discredited. We bear, as physicians, a heavy responsibility, and there is no end in sight.
Dr Philip Barber
Consultant respiratory physician
Simon Jenkins appears to argue (Whisper it, but in opposing Rishi Sunak’s smoking ban, Liz Truss might be right, 29 January) that because the government has caved in to the food and drinks lobby that it should do the same for the tobacco lobbyists. Obesity and diabetes do great harm, but smoking results in a premature death for 50% of those people who consume the product. His analogy with cannabis is equally perverse. Smoking cost my mother her life and created three young orphans. It is not without consequences for others.
Liberal Democrat, House of Lords