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Helen’s Seasonal Horror Show

Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard said some daft things in 2016. Now she’s ending her tenure as chair of the RCGP Council she’s spouting guff again

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Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard is the outgoing chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners’ (RCGP) council. In 2016, she is reported as having wanted vaping to be placed “under medical control”. It provoked robust debate but, three years later, she is claiming she was “trolled” by people pretending to be doctors and members of the public.

Nobody can quite understand Stokes-Lampard’s outpourings in The Times, but then little made sense 36 months ago either as she took up her post. “Vaping should be banned in public places,” she said back then. The Times gleefully welcomed the statement as a sign of “a backlash against the enthusiastic welcome of e-cigarettes by the medical establishment”.

The journalist stated she believed that vaping “must be confined to medically supervised attempts to quit smoking.”

It led blogger Dick Puddlecote to comment that, rather than Stokes-Lampard, “GPs would probably be far better led by Frank Lampard instead”.

Her comments stood at odds with the consistent public position put out by the RCGP and drew condemnation from many genuine practising clinicians. Dr Garrett McGovern, a GP specialising in addiction treatment, said: “The idea of queuing up in a doctor’s office to have access to a relatively harmless product to quit smoking is absurd.”

The RCGP couldn’t be clearer on vaping: “As primary care clinicians, how should we be positioning our advice on vaping. In a nutshell, we should be presenting it as a substantially less harmful alternative to smoking. If the options are smoking or vaping, it will be emphatically vaping, though if 'neither' is a third option, then this is the only truly 'safe' option.”

Seemingly, for no reason and without any evidence, Stokes-Lampard is now complaining about being “trolled” with “a torrent of abuse”.

Displaying a slightly warped view of history, she told The Times this week: “I was making some very sensible comments about how vaping was far safer than smoking,” fibs the doctor. “Suddenly there was this real outpouring of vitriol.”

POTV couldn’t find any evidence of this outpouring of vitriol so we asked the journalist to provide examples. None has been forthcoming at the time of writing.

The Times writes, “the accounts responsible were masquerading as members of the public.”

It reports Stokes-Lampard adding: “We later found out that people pretending to be patients and doctors were actually lobbyists for the vaping industry.”

Again, we can’t find any evidence of vape lobbyists pretending to be doctors or members of the public. All we can see is Doctor Helen having a personal, seasonal horror show of disinformation for unexplained reasons.


  • “Put vaping under medical control, says GPs’ leader”, The Times, 2016 – [link]
  • “Medical chief trolled by vaping lobby for health risk warning”, The Times, 2019 – [link]
  • Alan Beard’s 2016 blog post - [link]
  • Dick Puddlecote 2016 response – [link]
  • RCGP Position Statement on the use of electronic nicotine vapour products – [link]
  • “E-cigarettes: Is vaping safe?”, RCGP – [link]
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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