Journal of Public Health Policy

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 132–134 | Cite as

A short note on e-cigarette issues: Harm reduction, re-normalization, and Big Tobacco

  • Mohammed Al-hamdani
Letter to the Editor

E-cigarette advocates neglect the inappropriateness of these products for harm reduction, the contribution of vaping to smoking re-normalization, and links between e-cigarette manufacturers and Big Tobacco. I comment on two pro e-cigarette articles and these issues, and then suggest caution in the rush to embrace e-cigarettes.


E-cigarettes, a modern alternative to cigarettes, are a rapidly growing market.1 They are controversial due to the divergent views on their purpose. E-cigarettes can serve the purpose of harm reduction.2 They may constitute a public health threat with vaping promoting re-normalization of smoking.3 (Vaping is the act of using e-cigarettes, because they release vapor. Re-normalization refers to increasing the social acceptability of a product after it had come to be considered unacceptable behaviour.)

I find three concerns with the pro e-cigarette perspective:
  • Inaccurate harm reduction assertions.

  • Disregard of the importance of e-cigarette restrictions.

  • N...


  1. Ayers, J.W., Ribisl, K.M. and Brownstein, J.S. (2011) Tracking the rise in popularity of electronic nicotine delivery systems (electronic cigarettes) using search query surveillance. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 40 (4): 448–453.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cahn, Z. and Siegel, M. (2010) Electronic cigarettes as a harm reduction strategy for tobacco control: A step forward or a repeat of past mistakes? Journal of Public Health Policy 32 (1): 16–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Trtchounian, A. and Talbot, P. (2011) Electronic nicotine delivery systems: Is there a need for regulation? Tobacco Control 20 (1): 47–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cahn, Z. (2013) France acts on electronic cigarettes. Journal of Public Health Policy. doi: 10.1057/jphp.2013.32.Google Scholar
  5. Peeters, S. and Gilmore, A.B. (2013) Transnational tobacco company interests in smokeless tobacco in Europe: Analysis of internal industry documents and contemporary industry materials. PLoS medicine 10(9): e1001506,
  6. Proctor, R.N. (2012) Golden Holocaust: Origins of the Cigarette Catastrophe and the Case for Abolition. Berkley, LA: University of California Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohammed Al-hamdani
    • 1
  1. 1.Saint Mary’s UniversityHalifaxCanada

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