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Farsalinos calls for legal action against poor journalism

Dr Farsalinos has called for the scientific community to band together and take legal action against a Times journalist.

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Over the recent weeks we have covered Colin Mendelsohn warning that poor stories about vaping constitute a health hazard to the general public. Then we highlighted how scientists were being put harangued into not attending the Global Tobacco & Nicotine Forum conference. Doctor Konstantinos Farsalinos believes the coverage of the conference by The Times has crossed the line and is calling for scientists to take immediate and strong action – possibly including legal redress.

“Unfortunately, these misleading headlines are all too common and confuse the public about e-cigarettes, a potentially life-saving treatment,” said Mendelsohn as he warned about the rash of media stories accentuating the negative or, in many cases, inventing it entirely.

Then, last week, we reported Clive Bates slamming a letter to scientists from the staunchly anti-vaping Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the European Network for Smoking and Tobacco Prevention. Bates called it “sneering”, “threatening” and “vacuous”.

Also responding to the letter, Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos added that “dialogue is an absolute necessity” and “secrecy, censorship, exclusions and intimidation are not only useless but dangerous.”

Today, Farsalinos has gone further: “On October 12, the well-known UK newspaper “The Times” released 3 articles (here, here and here; all behind a paywall) which contained some very aggressive comments and personal attacks against scientists and anti-smoking advocates for being funded or supported by tobacco industry to support e-cigarettes.”

He slams the journalists responsible for the articles, two of which are by Katie Gibbons: “the authors of these articles are literally lying about the studies funded by the tobacco industry and are lying about the involvement of the named experts in tobacco-funded research.”

“The articles are not criticizing scientists working in the tobacco industry, but independent experts in the field. Moreover, they directly accuse Public Health England for the report published last year about e-cigarettes and misleadingly report that the statement about the 95% reduced risk was solely derived from the study by Nutt et al. Again, this is a lie.”

Stating that a broader issue is at stake, beyond those named being maligned, Farsalinos calls for direct action: “I think this is time for legal action. The unsubstantiated, misleading, inappropriate and insulting accusations are totally unacceptable. This is journalism at its worst. In general, I am against legal actions because they rarely solve such problems but divert the discussion to irrelevant issues. However, in this case I think the response should be straightforward and aggressive.”

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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