Vapers Do It In Public

Posted 10th April 2017 by Dave Cross
Tobacco Control, the supposed journal being attacked in a separate article this week, played host to rival opinions regarding vaping in public smoke-free spaces. On one hand came sound and calm reason from Linda Bauld, Ann McNeill, Peter Hajek, John Britton, and Martin Dockrell. Speaking up for the corner of wibble was Simon Chapman, Mike Daube, and Wasim Maziak.

Team Chapman began their submission by making emotive ad hominem attacks on anybody not sharing their feelings on the matter: “Those advocating for vaping to be allowed in smoke-free public places centre their case on gossamer-thin evidence that vaping emissions are all but benign and therefore pose negligible risks to others akin to inhaling steam from showers, kettles or saunas.”

Anybody having a remote knowledge of the contents of Chapman AO’s twitter feed will not be surprised at this wholly unethical manner of debating the subject. With his keyboard set to “Might, maybe and it’s possible that”, Chapman digs up a selection of misleading, incomplete or outright wrong studies.

Then the gang embark on a feast of logical faux pas and fallacies. They falsely attribute arguments to the opposition that they created, and dredge up ‘renormalisation’ – coupling it with some more ad hominem attacks: “only the most disingenuous or naïve could deny that the prospect of attracting the far more numerous non-smokers, particularly youth, to vaping would be their only long-term sustainable business model.”

Finally, they purposefully confuse respect and consideration for the feelings of others with a secret knowledge of dangers: “If ENDS emissions were really benign, indoor vaping advocates should take courage and call for it to be allowed in classrooms, crèches, hospitals and neonatal wards. That they do not rather suggests that they know well that such a position would be irresponsible.”

Michael Siegel notes: “The only known evidence of the hazards of second-hand vaping that the article is able to cite is that exhaled e-cigarette aerosol is ‘not harmless water vapour’. And the only evidence it presents showing that vaping can result in high levels of particulate exposure is from the measurement of particle concentrations at a ‘vapefest’, where literally hundreds of vapers are present in an enclosed location.”

The Electronic Cigarette Company

Team Bauld’s rebuttal is a stark contrast to the belligerence and petulance from the anti-tobacco harm reductionists. It focuses solely on the science and facts, leaving criticism of Chapman’s shameful opinions to the likes of us.

Bauld’s group’s contribution is a measured coverage of the ground already familiar to us all, culminating in a simple conclusion: “The evidence to date does not support a policy to prohibit e-cigarette use in enclosed public places and such policies could have significant unintended consequences by sustaining the use of smoked tobacco.”

It all leads observers to question what motivates Chapman, Daube, and Maziak to produce such guff on a protracted basis? A recent ACSH article titled “Why Some Scientists Are Bad At Their Jobs” may go some way to forming an explanation.

“First, some scientists feel as if they have something valuable to say on any topic under the sun,” ACSH write. “Second, some scientists are ideologically committed to certain causes, regardless of the evidence. Third, some scientists are incapable of separating scientific fact from science policy.

The article implores the reader not to fall into the trap of easily dismissing the trio as shills for Big Pharma or driven by dishonesty. “Instead,” ACSH suggest, “apply Hanlon's Razor: ‘Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity’.”

Vape Club

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