In a blog post on the Consumer Choice Center’s (CCC) website, the group’s deputy director Yaël Ossowski said he believes the incessant crusade against safer nicotine alternatives is behind the recent rise in smoking rates. “Nothing has been more egregious and harmful in our current age than the public health lobby’s persistent denialism of the harm reduction value of nicotine vaping products and other alternatives to cigarettes.”

The Federal Trade Commission’s 2020 Cigarette Report indicated that cigarette sales in the US are the highest they have ever been in two decades. The total number of cigarettes sold by major manufacturers rose 0.4 percent in 2020 to 203.7 billion units from 2019. “This is the the first increase in cigarette sales reported in the last 20 years. Smoking is up for the first time in a generation. The public health lobby is to blame,” said Ossowski.

The damage caused by misinformation on safer alternatives

The CCC also denounced public information campaigns demonizing vaping devices, misinformation on lung illnesses caused by tainted cannabis cartridges, bans, restrictions, and taxes on flavoured nicotine products. “Whatever your conclusion, the trend that lowered the percentage of US smokers down to 14 percent in 2019 when the last complete nationwide survey was completed is halting. And that should concern us all,” the CCC said.

“These public health bodies, anti-smoking groups and allied journalists, whatever their intent, have sought to convince the public that not only is smoking bad and dangerous—an easy admission—but also that alternative nicotine devices like vaping products, nicotine pouches, and heated tobacco are just as or even riskier than a pack of smokes,” added the group.

Case Studies: Countries Applying WHO Guidelines Have Higher Smoking Rates

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