Letters: We must not fall for the tobacco industry myths about vaping


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Jun 04, 2023

Letters: We must not fall for the tobacco industry myths about vaping

I NOTE your report on the YouGov survey on children and vaping ("Number of

I NOTE your report on the YouGov survey on children and vaping ("Number of children trying vaping rises 50% in a year", The Herald, May 18).

For a decade I have written in the press that the smoking industry is the driving force behind vaping, and that it funded the research to find ways to replace the millions of smokers being lost by quitting smoking. The answer to their prayers was vaping, so the tobacco companies slowly and discreetly bought up these pioneering companies.

Sadly the medical profession, and even the Action Against Smoking (ASH) charity were, like our politicians conned into believing the big myth: that vaping was the route to quitting smoking. I get daily reports from a worldwide research group into vaping, which in 10 years has provided little evidence to confirm the second big myth – that millions of smokers have successfully quit by vaping.

The often-quoted message that vaping is 95% safer than smoking has provided the vaping industry with a superb marketing message. It is true that most vaping products do not contain any of the 4,000 different chemicals that slowly found their way into cigarettes over three centuries, but people trying to quit smoking by vaping are still using ever-increasing levels of nicotine. It is the highly-addictive nicotine that has successfully kept billions of people across the world using tobacco, to the detriment of their health. Research shows that millions of the heaviest smokers who vape may start off with lower levels of nicotine, but then they slowly increase the nicotine strength to satisfy their cravings. We have no idea what nasties are in vaping products that might harm our health.

That centuries-old technique of hooking people into highly-addictive drugs like nicotine is exactly what is behind vaping. It is guaranteed to continue to make billions of pounds of profit for the tobacco industry shareholders.

The failure of our politicians to listen to people like me (I have worked for 50 years in health education of teens) means that we have completely failed to prevent our children being the target of yet another powerful drugs menace.

The fact that vaping is not, like tobacco, licensed, means that virtually anyone can sell them. I have seen tiny corner shops, bakeries, computer shops, off-licences, as well as the supermarkets, all selling vaping products. They are not qualified to give health advice, and some have no scruples about selling to children, even although legally you must be 18 to purchase vaping products.

We need a serious public debate about vaping to ensure our politicians get the message loud and clear, that they have all been well and truly conned.

Max Cruickshank, Glasgow.

Read more: Why can't we give more guidance to juries instead of banning them?

Failing our school leavers I HAVE complete sympathy with the sentiments of John Gilligan (Letters, May 16) on the lack of apprenticeships. Like him I served an apprenticeship, for my part as a marine engineer, between 1955 and 1960 at Ardrossan Dockyard Limited. On the excellent training I received, plus eight years at night school I formed my own company, the McCrindle Group Limited, with £10 capital in 1966. At 84 my practical engineering skills are still built into my body, physically and mentally and I could return to '' the tools '' tomorrow. Mr Gilligan also touched on the current state of affairs wherein 50 per cent of our school leavers go into further education. I recall about 30 years ago attending a business seminar wherein a Scottish senior civil servant was bragging that 50% of our school leavers went to university, whilst only 35% of the German school leavers did. However, yes, 35% of German school leavers did go on to university, however another 35% got the opportunity to serve a full four-year apprenticeship. About 25 years ago I was able to obtain the annual expenditure in Scotland on full-time education and apprenticeships after leaving school. The utterly disgraceful figures were as follows: university degrees £950 million, full-time technical colleges for an HND qualification £200m and a miserable £13m towards the companies' costs of full-time four-year apprenticeships. I circulated these figures around so-called '' big beasts'' of the Labour Party – Lord MacDonald, Wendy Alexander, Helen Liddell and my MP, Brian Wilson – to no avail. Perhaps Labour's neglect towards young working children who could not, or would not wish to, go onwards into full-time education was part of the reason for the near complete demise of the party in Scotland.William Rae McCrindle, West Kilbride.

Blackboard jungle

"SOME parents ... told by teachers their child is being disruptive ... support the child rather than the teacher." So writes Mark Smith ("We are all to blame for indiscipline in schools", The Herald, May 19).

When I was about nine in the late 1940s, in the girls-only junior school, sitting at my standard wooden desk which had a lid, attached seat and inkwell and faced the teacher who ruled the roost from her desk on her dais by the blackboard, the girl sitting behind me pulled my pigtail/plait. Of course I shouted "Ow!", turned around and glowered at her and as I turned to face the front again I was hit on the face by the wooden blackboard duster. That was it ... nothing else.

When I got home after school, my mother asked what had happened, assuming that I had fallen in the playground. I told her the truth of it and got the reply from her ... "well, it will be her age". My father later agreed with her that it was something called "the menopause" and that was that ... poor woman. No talk of going to the school to complain and showing the very nasty cut and bruise on my face.

Given the increase in indiscipline we hear about nowadays perhaps a few more like that teacher in my school years ago might do the trick. Menopausal ladies with a handy pile of wooden board dusters and a good aim. But, of course, times have changed and discipline is not as it used to be. Maybe classrooms need to be returned to those wooden desks, all facing the teacher on his/her dais. Do children still have to sit with their hands on their heads at times?

Thelma Edwards, Kelso.

Kiss goodbye to trailblazing

WILL research published in the journal Science showing that humanity's earliest kiss dates back to around 4,500 years ago, ("Humans were kissing as early as 4,500 years ago", The Herald, May 19), have shocked the swinging sixties generation who think that they invented sex?

Even though their gas may be peeped I hope they will reflect that it was good while it lasted.

R Russell Smith, Largs.

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Max Cruickshank, Glasgow. Read more: Why can't we give more guidance to juries instead of banning them? Failing our school leavers William Rae McCrindle, West Kilbride. Blackboard jungle Thelma Edwards, Kelso. Kiss goodbye to trailblazing R Russell Smith, Largs.