Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Spot The Difference

You will often hear tobacco controllers talk about how the tobacco industry is evil and has a history of deceiving the public. It's a central ingredient of everything they do and they have used this to persuade governments to ignore the industry entirely, portraying big tobacco companies as untrustworthy.

The theme was explained in this BBC article last year.
In 1979, a secret memo from the tobacco industry was revealed to the public. Called the Smoking and Health Proposal, and written a decade earlier by the Brown & Williamson tobacco company, it revealed many of the tactics employed by big tobacco to counter “anti-cigarette forces”. 
In one of the paper’s most revealing sections, it looks at how to market cigarettes to the mass public: “Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the ‘body of fact’ that exists in the mind of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy.” 
Proctor found that ignorance spreads when firstly, many people do not understand a concept or fact and secondly, when special interest groups – like a commercial firm or a political group – then work hard to create confusion about an issue. In the case of ignorance about tobacco and climate change, a scientifically illiterate society will probably be more susceptible to the tactics used by those wishing to confuse and cloud the truth.
If this kind of behaviour is reprehensible, how should we review research such as this by the tobacco control industry from last week? From the conclusions (emphases mine):
Although much is known about smoking‐induced cardiovascular toxicity, little is known about that of e‐cigarettes. This is an issue that continues to be a subject of debate. Nevertheless, based on the current body of evidence, e‐cigarettes are not emission free (as some believe) and, in fact, they emit various potentially harmful and toxic chemicals. Whether or not the levels of these toxicants are lower than traditional smoking remains controversial. In this connection, recent studies showed that e‐cigarettes‐emitted chemicals reach levels comparable to tobacco smoke, and those levels vary depending on multiple factors, including types of devices, e‐liquid, vaping topography, and vaping experience.
Isn't this, also, "establishing a controversy" by "those wishing to confuse and cloud the truth"?

Because, you see, there is overwhelming evidence to suggest that e-cigs are safer than smoking, and the authors know this. They are just choosing to try to perpetuate the mythical harms of vaping in the minds of "a scientifically illiterate society".
Although it was originally argued that e‐cigarettes are “harm free,” the present prevailing belief is that they are “reduced harm” alternatives to conventional cigarettes. This latter notion is still debatable and not supported by conclusive evidence, especially considering the wide variation between e‐cigarette products. Even if that were the case, their harm can still extend to innocent/bystander nonsmokers through secondhand and thirdhand vaping, including children, pregnant women, casino/housekeeping workers, and people with preexisting cardiovascular and other diseases.
Debatable? There is absolutely no debate whatsoever that e-cigs are "reduced harm" alternatives (note the scare quotes), they just are. And as for "secondhand and thirdhand vaping", that only exists in the fevered imagination of corrupt researchers such as the authors of this junk crap.

So, can you spot the difference between the behaviour of the tobacco industry in the 1960s and the behaviour of tobacco controllers such as these now? Because I can't. Creating false doubts about much safer products to put people off using them, and deceiving the public into thinking that they are dangerous, is exactly the same as creating false doubts about the high risks of smoking in order to encourage use, n'est-ce pas?

Just yet another example of how e-cigs are exposing the tobacco control industry as big a bunch of liars as the caricature they have painted of Big Tobacco for decades. Perhaps governments should cut off all tobacco control funding and stop listening to them too until they buy a dictionary and look up the word 'honesty'. 

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