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Are large pharmaceuticals looking to dominate StopTober?
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Mark Benson Offline
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Are large pharmaceuticals looking to dominate StopTober?
StopTober is a campaign which encourages those smoking tobacco cigarettes to refrain from doing so during a 28 day period in October. The campaign is orchestrated by the UK NHS although it has been replicated across other countries around the world. While there is no doubt that this is a very worthwhile cause, with well in excess of 200,000 people signing-up this year alone, there are some concerns that pharmaceutical groups still have significant influence even over official NHS campaigns.

The whole idea behind StopTober is to offer advice, both practical and factual, about the impact of smoking tobacco cigarettes and the best way for each individual to reduce their intake or eliminate tobacco cigarettes completely.

Pharmaceutical products pushed to the front line

While a number of electronic cigarette companies offer an array of promotions and offers during the StopTober campaign the NHS refuses to push electronic cigarettes as a potential option for tobacco cigarette smokers. Some people may applaud this strategy but how does this look when official NHS campaigns across the UK are pushing nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, inhalers, nasal spray and other leading pharmaceutical products?

Many NHS sponsored StopTober campaigns across the UK have refused to comment either way on electronic cigarettes while still making the array of pharmaceutical products readily available. It is only natural that the NHS has a very close working relationship with pharmaceutical companies but why are they pushing an array of smoke cessation products while refusing to even contemplate the benefits of electronic cigarettes?

Is StopTober losing its appeal?

While there is no doubt that StopTober is a godsend and a potential life changer for many people, the more influence that the pharmaceutical groups are able to exercise the more sceptical people will become in future years. Is it really up to the UK NHS to pick and choose which smoke cessation products should be pushed to the forefront? Is there a conflict of interest bearing in mind the very close relationship between pharmaceutical groups and the UK National Health Service?

It would certainly be a shame if the StopTober campaign was to become a victim of the powerful influence of pharmaceutical groups. This is a campaign which is growing in reputation, growing in popularity and literally helping hundreds of thousands of people every year to reduce or eliminate their tobacco smoking habit. In many ways the electronic cigarette industry has been disadvantaged since it became more of a mass-market product than the historic niche market appeal which it held in the early days. Is there any harm in offering electronic cigarettes as a viable alternative for those looking to reduce their tobacco intake?

Conclusion

You only need to ask those who have tried electronic cigarettes during various StopTober campaigns to see the potential role they have to play. Electronic cigarettes may not be for everybody, other pharmaceutical products may well suit some people better, but you only need to take a look at the 2.1 million people using ecigs in the UK to see that it does warrant further consideration.

There is an unfortunate line of thought that the more influence that pharmaceutical groups have over products and services offered during the period of Stoptober the less effective the campaign will become. This in itself would be a crying shame especially when you bear in mind the number of people the campaign has assisted.
15-10-2014 02:13 PM
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