Vaping in 60 Minutes

Posted 25th April 2017 by Dave Cross
Australia’s Channel Nine is one of the three main free-to-air television channels in Australia. Their program 60 Minutes claims to have revolutionised current affairs reporting but is no stranger to criticism. The channel recently screened a segment of the show about vaping titled ‘Are they just swapping one evil for another?’

In the trailer, the voiceover expresses shock at hearing a senior British American Tobacco (BAT) company employee admit that cigarettes kill. She goes on to pose the question as to whether vaping could save lives – or whether it will simply make smoking “cool again”.

“Take a deep breath, because Big Tobacco is back!”

As the program is introduced it is framed in such a way as to lead the viewer to believe tobacco companies are all there are in the world of vaping.

“If you smoke cigarettes all of your life then half of those cigarette smokers will die prematurely from smoking-related diseases,” says Dr. David O’Reilly, the man from BAT. “Whether that’s lung cancer, heart disease, respiratory disease.” And he wants smokers to switch: “The evidence to date is that [vaping] is 95% less harmful than smoking.”


According to the show, our 2-million British vapers “are making nicotine cool again”. No evidence if offered up to demonstrate how you are all making nicotine “cool” – or even if it’s a fact that you are. Given that most comments made on social media about vaping from non-vapers is particularly disparaging you might want to hang fire on adding it to your CV.

The simple solution offered up by the program makers is not to support vaping – but for BAT to cease selling tobacco cigarettes overnight. The simplistic, moralistic tone is dismissed by O’Reilly as he tells them: “We have to be pragmatic, cigarettes exist today. It’s the biggest tobacco category on the planet. One of the reasons I’m proud of working at British American Tobacco is because yes we do manage this controversial product, this very risky consumer product, but we do it in what is the most responsible way anyone can manage a product.”

The program speaks to vapers, a representative of the Royal College of Physicians and then, back in Australia, Colin Mendelsohn. The latter highlights that although vape contains some dangerous elements there have been no recorded cases of health suffering seriously in ten years.

“Even if they’re 95% less harmful, they’re still harmful,” says one expert blind to the benefits of harm reduction – or, as he goes on to demonstrate, the meaning of the words ‘harm reduction’. “If I were to cross the freeway and it’s probably less harmful if I were hit by a car than hit by a truck – but is either desirable?”

What is disconcerting is the knowledge that this expert is Professor John Skerritt, who happens to be the national manager of the Therapeutic Goods Administration – the morons who continue to ban vape products. Watch the video and marvel at the sheer depth of his ignorance as he talks about anti-freeze being added to liquids to be vaporized.


But it’s Colin Mendelsohn who places Skerritt’s comments in their true perspective: “It will cost Australia hundreds of thousands of lives.”

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