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Debunking Claptrap Claims

Is it possible to debunk the outlandish attacks on vaping?

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Sir Henry Fraser has led a privileged life in Barbados. As the son of island politicians, he was cossetted into a medicine career. Retirement has not prevented him from sticking his doctor’s oar in whenever he sees fit, not now he’s following the family in government. Especially when there is the fight to be fought against vaping.

Do we know what research he’s done? No, but maybe you can work it out from his recent statement as the house debated the Health Services Amendment Bill. Electronic cigarettes are, he stated without bursting into fits of laughter, “instruments of death and disease”.

He told anybody who would listen that “medical research” has proven that e-cigs “lead to other forms of smoking”. It would be wonderful to find out where that medical research is given we know there is no such thing as a gateway effect.

“So the multiple problems of e-cigarettes though not as great as your old time Camels and all the other types of conventional cigarettes, is still a significant problem which must be recognized, and we need to ensure that enough is done locally in terms of controlling the persistence of the local tobacco industry’s efforts in marketing and selling these instruments of death and disease among the Barbadian people.”

There’s probably no chance Sir Henry has read this week’s copy of The Spectator. If he’d opened up the health section he’d have stumbled upon a piece by Chris Snowdon, where he pleads: “Stop the junk science on vaping. E-cigarettes don’t turn kids into smokers.”

The likes of Fraser feed off and into a fear frenzy based on ignorance and guesswork, not science. “Since e-cigarettes became mainstream consumer products circa 2012, there has been a steady flow of anti-vaping scare stories,” Snowdon writes. “In the last 12 months, it has become a flood.”

Snowdon shines a spotlight on the cornerstones of codswallop:

  • That e-cigarettes are as dangerous as smoking
  • That they don’t help people quit
  • That non-smokers who use them are more likely to start using tobacco cigarettes.

He rightly highlights that all three have been frequently debunked, to a sufficient level that they have no justification in being raised in debate any longer. Snowdon adds: “they can fairly be described as ‘zombie arguments’. Impervious to reason, they stagger on.”

They stagger on and people debunk them all over again, each time they crop up in an ensuing piece of research. R Street is a case in point, as it sets it’s sights on the website

In a recent article, the site has a go at Aric Suber-Jenkins’ biased and subjective “what the experts say”. It’s a piece that acts as a mouthpiece for Stanton Glantz’ paid-for views; opinions that will cause lives to be lost to smoking-related diseases if allowed free reign. He claims the scientific community sees vaping as a scam, that vaping keeps people smoking cigarettes, some nonsense about nanoparticles, and that ecigs target (and have a hold over) teenagers.

Is it possible to win against this onslaught of stupid, where they simply ignore all rational argument? Maybe we should just be grateful that some people feel it’s worth trying.

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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