Opinion: Buckler all over again

POSTED: 03/28/14 10:44 AM

Every time we see someone with one of those silly electronic cigarettes we have to think about the Dutch comedian Youp van ‘t Hek and the way he blew Heineken’s alcohol-free beer Buckler from the market in his 1989 New Year’s show. That went like this:

“You know Buckler, don’t you? That is that reformed beer. I hate Buckler-drinkers. They are those assholes of around 40 years of age that go and stand next to you in the pub with their car keys in their hands. Bugger off boy, I am here to get drunk. Go away idiot. Go and get drunk in your church, idiot. Don’t booze then, idiot.”

Van ‘t Hek had more to say about people who had switched to Buckler and it was enough to wipe the product off the market. After the show, nobody wanted to be seen anymore even near a bottle of Buckler. (For some reason the stuff is at times available at Le Grand Marché).

This is the feeling we get when we see people strutting about with their electronic gadget that clever marketers have dubbed the electronic cigarette. Or even better: e-cigarette. It is supposed to sound trendy, but it is sooooo Buckler all over again. Then don’t smoke, you idiots!

American researchers have targeted the electronic cigarette from a different angle. Producers promote their gadget as a tool to stop smoking, but researchers found that there is not a shred of evidence to support that claim.

The researchers followed 949 smokers in their study; they all had to indicate how much they smoked and whether they intended to stop. A year later they asked the group the same question. The users of e-cigarettes, 88 in all, had not started to smoke less and they had not stopped more often than the smokers of the real stuff. Remarkable: after waking up, e-smokers generally grabbed a cigarette sooner than tobacco-smokers.

Wanda Kanters, a Dutch lung specialist who also runs a foundation that helps people to kick the habit, is not surprised about the study’s outcome. The effect of e-cigarettes is marginal, if they do anything at all, Kanter says, adding that there are more effective methods for people who want to stop.

Kanter says that the most important tool for kicking the habit is cognitive behavioral therapy. The e-cigarette keeps the smoking-habit alive and that makes stopping even more difficult. Kanter’s conclusion” Even though they advertise it as a tool to stop, the e-cigarette is more of a marketing tool to keep people smoking.”

And, we’d like to add, they also make us think about Buckler-drinkers.


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