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It’s all about the Nicotine


What is it about nicotine, a common compound, that excites such interest and controversy?

It is literally everywhere in the plant kingdom, occurring in fairly large amounts in common vegetables; plants use it as an insecticide (see link at the bottom of this post). So do people: at concentrations approaching purity it is pretty toxic to anything including mammals. However, a cursory thought experiment ought to alert anyone to the idea that at the levels found in tobacco leaves it is safe to inhale, that is, it doesn’t reach a critical threshold of toxicity at these levels: smokers die from the carcinogens in the tars they inhale and last a good long while inhaling nicotine every day. Fortunately, the original designers of eLiquid solutions based their concentrations on cigarettes (obviously).

For over a century nicotine was considered a deadly toxin at fairly low concentrations and this overshadowed the emerging pastime of vaping: many of the forums were awash for years with scary statistics- all of them complete bunk. You see, as it happens the presumed toxicity of nicotine was based on a piece of anecdotal research carried out by scientists in the 19th century. It has since been totally overturned and the toxic dose revised upwards by at least an order of magnitude:

An excellent piece of long overdue research and reclassification.

It is called addictive. As it happens, not only is addiction itself a controversial concept being difficult to define, addiction to nicotine itself seems to be all about the method of delivery and other additives in cigarette smoke (including related alkaloids) after all, we have no societal problems at all with thousands of people addicted to nicotine patches or gums despite widespread exposure.

No- the trouble with nicotine is its association with tobacco and from thence (and nowhere else) its association to excise duty and taxes. It is all about money.

Have a look at how the European Union is already being lobbied by member states to introduce punitive taxes on e cigarettes and eLiquids just because they contain nicotine (and not because they are harmful- not in the way smoked tobacco is in a ny event)

How appalling is that? A safer method of delivery that might expunge the smoking habit now a target for a tax that is only justifiable because of the negative health consequences of smoking itself.

Stupid, damaging and disrespectful legislation.

Mark Drakeford fails.

There_s_Only_One_Person_To_Blame__Drakeford___Dick_PuddlecoteSome good news at last. Mark Drakeford’s Public Health Wales bill has fallen at the last hurdle because of a political squabble. The lying and conniving that went into getting it this far was hard to bear and although I am glad it has failed let us note that the evidence against a ban wasn’t the reason for the failure. Here’s Dick Puddlecote’s excellent summary.