Friday, June 07, 2013

The Problem with the Tobacco Control Movement: Ideology Has Overtaken Science

According to a DNA India article, the health minister of France supported her call for a ban on vaping in public places and a ban on e-cigarette advertising by asserting that using an electronic cigarette is the same thing as smoking.

According to the article: "The Italian health ministry's top advisory body has recommended a ban on the smoking of electronic cigarettes in public places and their sale to pregnant women and minors. The recommendation by the ministry's Superior Health Council came after France's Health Minister Marisol Touraine said she was planning simiar restrictions. 'Smoking an e-cigarette is smoking,' she stated."

The Rest of the Story

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The truth is: "Smoking an e-cigarette is a step towards quitting smoking."

This is the bare fact that so few in the anti-smoking movement seem to appreciate.

The importance of this story is that it illustrates precisely what is wrong with today's anti-smoking movement. Instead of being driven by science, as it was in the past, it is now being driven by ideology. This ideology is so skewed that using a non-tobacco device resembling a pen that vaporizes a solution of nicotine and propylene glycol without any combustion or smoke production is considered equivalent to cigarette smoking.

That using an e-cigarette is considered to be the same thing as smoking is emblematic of the victory of ideology over science in today's anti-smoking movement. The science clearly tells us that vaping is not smoking and that in fact, vaping is a method of quitting smoking. But the ideology is telling many anti-smoking advocates that because it looks like smoking, vaping actually is smoking.

I explained yesterday how a tobacco control researcher - Dr. Glantz  - is so much guided by ideology instead of the science on this issue that he called a study which did not evaluate the effectiveness of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation a "good study" of the effectiveness of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation.

Apparently, the ideology against a behavior that looks like smoking is so strong that most anti-smoking advocates are incapable of condoning such a behavior, even if it is saving lives.

The upshot of this is that the anti-smoking movement is doing everything in its power to protect cigarette sales from the threat of e-cigarettes. Even the cigarette companies are hoping to shift some of the cigarette market toward e-cigarettes. Not so with the anti-smoking groups. And that's a tragedy.

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