More Doolally Nonsense from Hopkins Bloomberg

Posted 12th June 2018 by Dave Cross
Carrie Arnold markets herself as an independent science correspondent. If her latest article, “E-cigarettes, Juuls and Heat-Not-Burn Devices: The Science and Regulation of Vaping”, in this summer’s Hopkins Bloomberg Public Health magazine, is anything to go by then the “science” bit needs to be dropped.

“Nowhere,” Arnold harks back to the 2014 boom in vaping, “was [ecig] popularity more swift—and alarming—than with young people.”

There is the entire article in one quote. The trestle table has been erected, the products placed out on display and she waits for customers to trot up. Unlike the reasoned and evidenced arguments put forward by Clive Bates regarding regulation in the other of today’s articles, Arnold focuses on woeful anti-harm reduction waffle.

Those of us who were vaping in 2014 know very well that the boom resulted from ex-smokers encouraging their smoking adult friends to try this amazing technology. There was no boom in child use, nor was there widespread “alarm”.

“For public health scientists,” she continues, “this has meant embarking on a quest to understand the potential health risks associated with vaping in order to inform both e-cigarette users and policymakers.”

Perhaps we need researchers to look into whether a single vaper has been informed about health risks by a single public health scientist? The probability is that it equals the number of public health scientists who carried out their work with the aim of helping vapers.

Arnold quotes Ana María Rul: “Even if vaping proves safer than smoking, that’s still a long way from a gold stamp for their safety.”


Michael Siegel, a protégé of Stanton (anti-vape) Glantz, said: “This of course implies that we don't currently know that vaping is any safer than smoking. In turn, this means the professor's claim is that we don't currently know that smoking is any more harmful than vaping.”

There is no “if”; vaping is accepted as being safer than smoking. Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians both state it’s at least 95% safer. Even the most hardened opponents to vaping agree that it is safer (although they quibble over the figure of how much).

Arnold’s continues with unsupported, ridiculous statements:

  • “The devices are especially popular with two different groups: smokers trying to quit and young people who have never used conventional cigarettes.”
  • “The multitude of flavoured e-liquids - from grape to vanilla to coffee - are especially appealing to young taste buds.”

These statements aren’t argument, they don’t constitute a contribution towards the harm reduction debate - they are regurgitated propaganda. It presupposed that vaping within teen populations equals that of adult ex-smokers, and that flavours are targeted at teens (because children love a cup of coffee). Utter bunkum.

Back to Michael Siegel: “What almost nobody in tobacco control is acknowledging is that most of the major brands of electronic cigarettes that are sold at retail stores in the U.S. and which account for well over half of the market share have been tested and no detectable levels of any dangerous chemicals have been identified in the aerosol.”

“The answer is obvious,” Arnold signs off. “It’s better to sound the alarm before you poison millions of people.”

This clarion call to ban or strictly regulate vaping is never the answer, and this can be evidenced with one word: Australia. Why on earth would they want to go down a path that has led to an increase in the number of smokers? Perhaps instead of claiming ‘we don’t know what’s in them, public health researchers and self-proclaimed science correspondents ought to say: “we don’t understand anything about them”?

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