Sweanor is not just a lawyer but considered to be a public health expert and widely lauded for his philanthropy. “He’s very much about leaving a better world for his kids,” said one beneficiary of his financial support – and this extends to wanting a healthier world for smokers looking to quit.
Only last month he was addressing the nonsense surrounding new legislation in Ontario: “Policymakers and legislators have focused on the moralistic goal of achieving a tobacco-free world rather than taking concrete steps to reduce death and disease,” he said. “We're just telling people 'Thou Shalt Not' and it doesn't make any public health sense. We could virtually eliminate the risk by getting rid of the smoke.”
His interview with RegulatorWatch is embedded below and well worth watching.
“There’s a very strong abstinence-only part of what’s going on in the anti-smoking movement. I think it’s one of the most counter-productive things that we’ve ever seen,” he says. “We’ve known for decades people smoke for the nicotine, they die from the tar, they die from the smoke. That the nicotine itself, that the dosage level somebody’s looking for is not particularly hazardous so it can be usefully compared to caffeine.”
“If we got our caffeine by smoking tea leaves rather than brewing tea, that too would be killing us not because of the caffeine but because we’d be sucking smoke into our lungs. Anybody who’s open-minded and actually understands the science and is willing to look at it, is saying there is no question that it’s way less hazardous.”
He continues: “I think some of it is that we had people who got involved in this because they saw a black and white issue. They saw something where they could fight evil. I think some lost sight of the public health component of this.”
It’s a message he has been consistently delivering to anybody prepared to listen, as can be demonstrated from his online interview last year. He decries the science promoted by the anti-ecig lobby as it leads to one conclusion in the minds of smokers: that they would be better off remaining smokers. Here’s hoping his message hits home in 2016.