Drive-thru Science

Posted 6th February 2015 by Dave Cross
According to the New Scientist: “Fifteen prominent scientists who have investigated the health consequences of electronic cigarettes have accused European Union regulators of misinterpreting their results. The scientists say the EU aim is to draft an unjustifiably burdensome new law to regulate e-cigarettes.”

The doctors (Etter, Farsalinos, Hajek and Le Houezec numbering among them) wrote: “We are among the key scientists in the field of tobacco and e-cigarettes whose research is cited by the EU Commission and other public bodies interested in tobacco control. We understand that the Commission and MEPs want to ensure that safe e-cigarettes are easily available for smokers who wish to switch from smoking tobacco. With e-cigarettes proving popular among smokers, there is an ethical and intellectual imperative to build policy on robust science.”

Six key points detailing the scientific errors contained in the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) are detailed in the letter. The cosignatory scientists claim research by Dr Farsalinos has been misrepresented, that the assumption on nicotine toxicity is false, that expectations for ecig regulation are inconsistent, financial burdens will be disproportionate and of no use, the move to 10ml bottles is unsound and that the alleged “gateway effect” is nonsense.

They conclude: “Electronic cigarettes have a very good safety profile and are likely to provide a gateway away from rather than into smoking. Users should be allowed to identify a product and dosage that suit them rather than have regulators decide what they must use. Evidence-based and proportionate regulation should be implemented, and all stakeholders should be involved in the regulatory process. If wisely regulated, electronic cigarettes have the potential to obsolete cigarettes and to save millions of lives worldwide. Excessive regulation, on the contrary, will contribute to maintain the existing levels of smoking-related disease, death and health care costs.”

Clive Bates has described the proposed TPD legislation as a “dog’s dinner” while Chris Bullen used the term “unbalanced.” The electronic cigarette company Totally Wicked are set to challenge Article 20 of the TPD in the European Court – you can read about it and add your support here.


This misappropriation of science lies at the heart of a 2014 court case covered by Danish journalist Karl K. The American Surgeon General has made positive overtones towards electronic cigarettes recently but the judge lambasted the department he inherits.

He writes, there were “massive conflicts of interest with three prominent anti-tobacco experts who were on the payroll of the pharmaceutical industry, while they were designated by the US government as scientific editors of the official “Surgeon General” reports on tobacco.”

The actions of Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline, beneficiaries from the sales of NRT products, have impacted on nicotine legislation at a global and European level. The concoctions of lies and half-truths over decades have driven the TPD agenda.

Danish professor Peter Gøtzsche writes in Deadly Medicine & Organized Crime: “The pharmaceutical industry does not live by selling drugs, but by selling lies about drugs.”

Dr. Philippe Even, writing in The Guardian, said: “The pharmaceutical industry is the most lucrative, the most cynical and the least ethical of all the industries,” he said. “It is like an octopus with tentacles that has infiltrated all the decision making bodies, world health organisations, governments, parliaments, high administrations in health and hospitals and the medical profession”.


“It has done this with the connivance, and occasionally the corruption of the medical profession. I am not just talking about medicines but the whole of medicine. It is the pharmaceutical industry that now outlines the entire medical landscape in our country.”

Following California health officials declaring electronic cigarettes a health threat that should be strictly regulated. Greg Gutfield, Fox News, was moved to exclaim: “They claim nicotine is as addictive as cocaine. Please! Where did these idiots get their degree? At a ball pit at McDonalds?” You can watch the entertaining video here.

Frank Davis provides a summary for the motivations of Big Pharma and the corrupt sections of the medical community in his blog: “There is no longer any doubt about the pharmaceutical intent of the attacks on tobacco: They want the world monopoly on nicotine. Therefore the corporations create long-term financial relationships with doctors, experts and anti-tobacco activists, who they believe can be used to achieve this goal.”

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, motorbikes, and dog walker
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