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Saturday, 23 October 2010

LETTER TO THE EDMONTON JOURNAL

Hello Mr. Staples,

I read your article about the government not giving an explanation about why they are delaying the new health warnings on cigarette packages.

Let me first agree with you that their delays do not seem to be warranted. Not that in my opinion these million dollar warnings will deter many remaining smokers to quit and therefore are an urgent life or death necessity, but the fact that they're not justifying their decision is very intriguing.

However, I truly wish journalists would once in a while be as critical with another unethical corporation playing hanky panky with government as they are with the tobacco industry. It seems mostly every mainstream journalist is keeping his eyes tightly shut on the shenanigans of the pharmaceutical industry and their emerging nicotine market when so much blatant evidence is just screaming to be reported! Why?

One of those examples is electronic cigarettes which have been nixed by Health Canada very shortly after they were introduced in Canada. The e-cigarette is a smokeless, odorless electronic device that has become very popular with smokers who wish to give up smoking without giving up nicotine intake but find no satisfaction in the patches, inhalers, gums or lozenges of the pharmaceutical industry which have been documented to have but a 1,6% long term success rate. Although most of them are not marketed as a smoking cessation device, hundreds of thousands of smokers throughout the world have either significantly cut down or quit smoking totally thanks to them. The various manufacturers and distributors of such devices being completely independant of the tobacco and the pharmaceutical industries, have thus become a real threat to the two big players in the nicotine market. These devices contain nicotine, propylene glycol and flavorings, three substances already approved by Health Canada. Yet Health Canada has banned them giving reasons that do not fly with reality, common sense or ethics. You may want to read this story here:
http://cagecanada.blogspot.com/2009/05/e-cigarettes-letter-to-health-canada.html

Another example is nicotine lozenges. The tobacco industry and the pharmaceutical industry both produce almost identical products. The only difference is the price, the pharmaceutical ones being almost four times more expensive than the tobacco products. Read this story here: http://cagecanada.blogspot.com/search?q=orbs These tobacco products will probably never be marketed in Canada because the anti-tobacco lobby is condemning them as we have read from the latest recommandations to the Ontario government (page 11 of http://media.thestar.topscms.com/acrobat/34/88/1283a0ca484494ea3e8badfc828b.pdf ) :

Ban smokeless tobacco products in Ontario by the end of the 5-year revised SFO Strategy. '
Prohibit the approval, sale and marketing of any new tobacco product or non-therapeutic nicotine product.

Which brings me to another observation. Why would anti-tobacco activists who claim to want smokers to quit, do everything in their power to block smokeless products which have been proven to be far less harmful than smoked tobacco if it isn't to either protect the pharmaceutical industry's profits or to carry out their vendetta against the tobacco industry (most probably both reasons) at the smoker's expense? Why would they block the e-cigarette (referred to in their report as the ''non-therapeutic nicotine product) which should instead be heiled as a much, if not totally, harmless product, and as a solution to a divisive smoking/non-smoking society, smoking bans and the hospitality industry hardships?

Why don't reporters ever investigate such blatant conflicts of interest?

Remaining hopeful,

Iro Cyr
Vice-president
C.A.G.E.

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