This blog examines an extraordinary claim by Professor Stanton Glantz that the US public is right to believe that vaping is as harmful as smoking and that science is now catching up with public opinion. This claim is profoundly and dangerously false, and it demands a challenge. This is a 13,000-word review looking in detail at Professor Glantz’s 700-word commentary and its supporting citations, examining thirteen claims that form the basis of the overall claim relating to cancer, heart attacks, stroke and respiratory illness, impact on smoking cessation and population smoking.
In this blog, I examine an extraordinary claim by Professor Stanton Glantz of the University of California at San Francisco. Professor Glantz claims that the US public is right to believe that vaping is as harmful as smoking and that science is now catching up with public opinion.
This claim is profoundly and dangerously false, and it demands a challenge. Professor Glantz makes his claim in a commentary in response to a substantive paper on perceptions of the relative risk of smoking and vaping. Both articles appeared in the American Medical Association’s JAMA Network Open. This is an in-depth blog looking in detail at Professor Glantz’s short commentary and its supporting citations, examining thirteen claims that form the basis of his overall claim. I am hoping the critique provided here will be a useful primer to some of the arguments in this controversial field.
Dr Lynne Dawkins of London South Bank University gives her terrific myth-busting lecture on e-cigarettes – see the YouTube video above. Here are the slides (Slideshare) and here below is Lynne’s summary of the key points.
Though short, it is basically right and sufficient: no-one is trying to live forever; everyone is trying to enjoy the life they have; some people like the drug nicotine or don’t want to quit enough to stop using it; smokers die earlier because of smoke; vaping avoids the smoke problem and does not appear to create new material problems; so it follows that vaping should not be illegal. In fact, it should be encouraged. It really is that simple.
The dissenting reports prompt me to raise the issue of simplicity versus sophistry in the debate over tobacco harm reduction. This has bugged me for years. Vaping and tobacco harm reduction is basically simple. The arguments raised against it by anti-vaping opponents are laden with sophistry.
This blog looks at ten forms of sophistry used by anti-vaping activists to fabricate and fuel faux controversy. It is longer than I would like, but the subject is far from exhausted. Please dip in.
It came as a surprise, but today’s announcement from FDA on tobacco policy is huge. The video of Dr Gottlieb’s speech and background is available here and speech text here.
The new Commissioner, Scott Gottlieb calls for FDA to develop a ‘new comprehensive plan for tobacco and nicotine regulation’ and announced ‘bold and far-reaching measures’ based on ‘ a firm foundation of rules and standards for newly-regulated products’. FDA announced it would “begin a public dialogue about lowering nicotine levels in combustible cigarettes to non-addictive levels through achievable product standards“.
Given the confusion, anxiety and indignation that surrounds the role of the tobacco industry in tobacco harm reduction, I thought it would be interesting to imagine how a tobacco company chief executive might be thinking about vapour, heat-not-burn or other low risk products. Here’s my best shot – perhaps erring on the side of optimism. Feel free to imagine differently in the comments, especially if you are actually in the industry (you are welcome to post anonymously) or are unconvinced or if you are actually a tobacco CEO you can have the right to reply! Continue reading “Pariahs, predators or players? The tobacco industry and the end of smoking”
The government of Taiwan has been consulting on amendment its Tobacco Hazards Prevention and Control Act. Article 14 of the amendment bill bans the manufacture, import, sale, and display of e-cigarettes (unless authorised as a pharmaceutical product). See newspaper coverage. The original Taiwan Chinese language bill is available online and a vendor has produced a summary in English.
See my full response here (PDF) and the summary below
Obviously, I strongly advise against this measure. E-cigarettes present an important strategy to reduce the harm caused by smoking and offer a way to achieve rapid reductions in smoking through market-based means. There is no evidence anywhere in the world that e-cigarettes add to harms associated with smoking.