Safe cigarettes - why the big fuss?

Anyway, we’ve moved sort of away from the OP’s point.

Getting back to that point, I’m all for harm reduction, and if changes in cigarettes can be shown to really, actually reduce the harm, I say go for it. However, given the complexity of the situation and past history of such strategies, I’m dubious of claims about a “safer” cigarette.

I’ve lived in So. CA for 15 years and managed to smoke a pack a day for 12 of those. (Quit 3 years ago). I worked at hospitals during some of that time. I can’t believe I ever thought I was “sneaking” cigarettes. I can smell a smoker a mile away now.

I was surprised to discover a double-standard within myself when I encountered this issue; my first thoughts were that ‘safer’ cigarettes should not be made because it might encourage more people to smoke.

Then I remembered my outrage at the suggestion that cervical cancer vaccines should be withheld because it might encourage more people to have sex.

OK, the two things are not exactly the same, but there is a common underlying ethic; i.e. “fatal deterrents are good”. Hmmm… gonna have to think this cigarette thing over a bit more.

One problem with your analogy is that cervical cancer vaccines are generally good for your health and those of your partners, with very few risks. In contrast, “safer” cigarettes do not directly promote health. Only those who already smoke, switching from regular to safer (but still not healthy!) will experience any benefit at all. HPV vaccines help healthy people, including monogamous ones, while safer cigarettes only harm the healthy, by possibly enticing more to smoke and by releasing unfiltered second-hand smoke.

Personally, I think that if people are going to smoke, then the “safer” form should be the one they smoke, and it should be made available to them (as long as smoking is still legal). But I will never understand why anyone would want to smoke, anyway.

I highly doubt anyone avoids having sex just because of the possibility of cervical cancer. Other STDs would still act as deterrents, even with the vaccine. However, many people do avoid smoking because of the possibility of getting lung cancer and emphysema.