Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Anti-Tobacco Researcher Accuses Electronic Cigarette Companies of Orchestrating Support by Right-Wing Think Tanks

Stan Glantz has accused electronic cigarette companies of orchestrating a campaign of support for these products by several "right-wing think tanks," as he calls them. These think tanks include the Heartland Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the CATO Institute, and the National Center for Public Policy Research.

Here is Glantz's accusation: "the e-cigarette companies (which are, increasingly owned by cigarette companies) are mobilizing the same network of right-wing think tanks that the cigarette companies have used for years to push their policy agenda, often linked with the tobacco companies' development of the Tea Party and related groups. John Mashey, a member of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education's Advisory Committee, sent me a few good examples. ... The more things change the more they stay the same."

The Rest of the Story

Before making an accusation like this, it is imperative that Dr. Glantz have evidence that electronic companies have mobilized these think-tanks to push their policy agenda. But the evidence that Glantz cites to support his accusation merely demonstrate that these groups have taken positions which support electronic cigarettes as a potential harm reduction strategy for tobacco control. None of the documents that Glantz cites indicate that any electronic cigarette company had anything to do with orchestrating, mobilizing, or affecting the positions taken by these groups.

The positions taken by these groups are actually very reasonable. In fact, I completely agree with their positions as stated in the op-eds and articles that Glantz cites. As it turns out, I am quoted in a number of these articles. So does this mean that I, too, am being orchestrated by electronic cigarette companies to push their policy agenda?

I happen to know many of the authors of the articles that Glantz cites. And I can tell you that the reason they support electronic cigarettes is because the scientific evidence supports these products as a reasonable harm reduction strategy, not because they are being paid off by electronic cigarette companies to take these positions. And unless Glantz has proof or documentation that these individuals have been paid off by Big Vapor, then he has no business making what is a false, public accusation.

Glantz is lucky that he didn't name any specific electronic cigarette companies. If he had, he would have opened himself up to a potential lawsuit.

The rest of the story is that once again, Glantz is lying to the public. He is so desperate to shoot down electronic cigarettes and apparently the actual evidence is so strongly against him that he has to resort to lying. The truth is not good enough.

No comments: