Imagine you’re looking for a reason to ban vaping in public places. No, really, put yourself in the shoes of somebody in that position. With an air of confidence, you say, “Vapers expose non-users to harmful chemicals and nicotine,” (taking care to say “chemicals” like it’s a dirty word).
But, just as you’re patting yourself on the back, an advocate responds:
The levels of nicotine non-users are exposed to are so tiny they’d have no effect at all – and any harmful chemicals are in such low quantities that they often can’t even be detected.
– Tony Alderwirel
It would look too unreasonable to just say you don’t like people doing it. They might not like you wearing so much aftershave, but asking you to stop would be a bit much.
But then – following in the footsteps of other anti-vaping campaigners – you have a moment of brilliance. Standing proud, you announce: You’ve done it: even if people aren’t quite sure how this mythical “renormalization” works, you’ve made it sound pretty serious.
It didn’t even take a scrap of evidence, either, just a few carefully-chosen words. So, how should our fictional advocate respond to this claim? Is vaping really renormalizing smoking? What does the evidence say?
Data from the Smoking Toolkit Study and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that this isn’t the case: smoking rates are continuing to decline as vaping becomes more popular, and are currently at the lowest levels ever recorded in the UK.