Local health officials in Franklin County, Kentucky are lying to the public, claiming that cigarette smoking is no more hazardous than using electronic cigarettes. According to an article in the Frankfort State Journal written by two public health officials associated with the Franklin County Health Department:
"One claim of those selling e-cigs is that they are not as harmful as cigarettes; however, this is untrue."
The Rest of the Story
It is quite ironic that health department officials, rather than tobacco industry executives, are the ones who are lying to the public and telling them that smoking is not as hazardous as previously thought. It is ironic that health officials, and not the tobacco industry, are the ones who are undermining the public's appreciation of the serious health hazards associated with cigarette smoking.
If any tobacco company came out with the statement that smoking is not any more hazardous than e-cigarettes, I can assure you that anti-smoking groups all over the country would be attacking those companies and probably bringing them to court for prosecution under RICO, consumer protection statutes, and civil lawsuits. Yet here we have a situation where numerous public health officials are lying to the public, making this precise claim, but so far as I know, not a single mainstream tobacco control organization has called them on it.
Other than the ACSH, Smokefree Pennsylvania, and the Rest of the Story, I'm not aware of any other tobacco control organizations that have publicly acknowledged that many of our colleagues in public health are lying to the public.
It is worth emphasizing that lying is unethical generally, but it is also a specific violation of the ethical code of public health.
These groups should be forced to retract their statements and apologize to the public for the damage they have done to the public's health.