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ATS Ignores Smokers’ Lives

The American Thoracic Society continues to push an agenda that ignores the lives of smokers.

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While most parties were congratulating the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its massive shift towards harm reduction, the American Thoracic Society (ATS) was up in arms. It is yet more evidence of the ATS’s corruption of the soul as it places its ‘quit or die’ agenda in front of the lives of current tobacco smokers.

“The FDA’s new plans could just switch one form of nicotine addiction with another,” wrote Enid Neptune, the vice chair of the ATS’s Tobacco Action Committee.

In the style of a small child rolling around a supermarket shopping aisle, Neptune plumbed the depths: “As a physician who treats patients devastated by tobacco-caused lung disease, I was concerned by the Aug. 5 editorial ‘Breaking nicotine’s grip,’ which embraced Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb’s plan for regulating tobacco products. The commissioner seems unconcerned about switching one form of nicotine addiction with another. Nicotine in any form is bad for your health, adversely affecting neurological and cardiovascular systems and reproductive health. Evidence shows that nicotine can be a gateway drug. Flavouring agents and other chemicals in e-cigarettes, when vaporised, are harmful.”

As well as these fishy claims, Neptune also claimed: “Mr Gottlieb appears willing to risk future generations of young people to nicotine addiction by granting Big Tobacco free rein to hook children on e-cigarettes and cigars. By going easy on the e-cigarette and cigar makers — giving them at least a four-year hiatus from new product applications and action on flavours and potentially exempting “premium” cigars — Mr Gottlieb is effectively green-lighting continued peddling of addiction to youth.”

It’s a rant that is as unprincipled as it is ignorant in its claims. A gateway drug? Only someone with a really tenuous grasp on reality would make a daft claim such as vaping predisposes people to cocaine addiction.

Michael Siegel puts it a different way, he states that anti-tobacco groups are happy to throw away the lives of smokers. He writes: “For months, I have been arguing that the major anti-tobacco groups in the United States have been waging a war against electronic cigarettes that is motivated not by a pure concern for the public's health, but by an ideological opposition to the idea that anyone could get pleasure from nicotine in whatever form -- even if they are improving their health and saving their life.”

“Today, the American Thoracic Society made it official.”

Siegel highlights that medical practitioners don’t give it a second thought when helping patients swap methadone for heroin. They don’t worry that the substitute is also an opiate that can have the impact of “adversely affecting neurological and cardiovascular systems and reproductive health”.

Neptune is all at sea with his arguments; relying on cod science to prop up his increasingly isolated position. The ATS should wave goodbye to their daft position and embrace the opportunity to throw smokers a lifeline.

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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