Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Danish Health and Medicines Authorities trying to scare the Danish people to death

Before Easter I wrote a post (http://goo.gl/4iQfP6) about the Danish Health and Medicines Authority being controlled by big pharma. I had a question mark at the end of my headline, but now I think that question mark needs to be removed. And the same goes for certain danish media. I'm not saying that big pharma controls the media directly but they seem to write whatever the Health and Medicines Authority feeds them with no questions asked, so in effect they write what big pharma wants.

An article (http://goo.gl/9uTbP9) in danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten from Monday reports some worrying statements from the Danish minister of Health, Nick Hækkerup. He wants to step up efforts to restrict e-cigarettes, and makes the following statement, with no reference to any scientific or other proof I may add: "We are talking about products, that can appeal to children and young people, and that can contribute to create interest for smoking regular cigarettes. Therefore I will contact the parties in the danish parliament (Folketinget) with the intention of discussing where we can step up our efforts". The statement is quoted from a written response to a question asked by the Danish Parliament's Health and Prevention delegation (http://goo.gl/fttKZu, in Danish, I doubt google translate will work here). Appearantly the gateway argument is not dead in Denmark, but common sense on the other hand...

The article then goes on with the following sub-headline: "Can cause cancer". The Health and Medicines Authority informs the journalist that there has been several adverse side effect registered, like irritation of the airways from short-term use, and allergic reactions. They also state that propylene glycol and glycerin is under suspicion of causing damage to the respiratory system and that some studies have found carcinogens in the products (editor: e-juice products). And of course, we must not forget that nicotine is addictive. Again, no reference to scientific proof whatsoever. This is exactly the kind of scaremongering big pharma wants, and gets, in Denmark these days.

At the end of the article there is another "think about the children" statement, and a lot of the parties in the Danish Parliament are willing to look into an age limit on e-cigarettes. Even a vendor of e-cigarettes supports an age limit. "Of course that is a good idea. I have children myself, and I wouldn't be happy if they started using e-cigarettes", says Frank Eskelun, the vendor in question. So... this is what it is all about then? An age limit? Well we all agree on that don't we? This is what the article should have focused on; responsible regulation of a product created for adults. So why all this scaremongering from the Health and Medicines Authorities and the minister of Health then? I'll go edit my previous post and remove the question mark to make it a bit clearer. I suspect they are starting to realize they will not be able to legally get rid of the competition, and now try desperately to scare people away from vaping. Scaring people to death just got a new, scarier meaning.

On the bright side, at the very bottom of the article, we get a clue to why the pharmaceutical industry is lobbying their asses off in Denmark at the moment: In 2010 1% of the Danish population used e-cigarettes, now the number is up to 5%.

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