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Time to act with integrity over ecigs

A leading American public health advocate who worked for the formerly anti-vape American Cancer Society issues a call for tobacco controllers to start acting with honesty and integrity

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Cliff Douglas, a veteran public health advocate and attorney, has issued a plea to tobacco controllers to cease their “internecine divide” over tobacco harm reduction and begin acting with collaboration, honesty and integrity. The member of the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health feels it is vital for the sake of all stakeholders

Cliff Douglas(1) speaking out is a big deal, not just because of the current state of tobacco harm reduction in the United States but who he is. Douglas used to be the Vice President for Tobacco Control at the American Cancer Society(2) and founded its Centre for Tobacco Control. I other words, he was right at the heart of the American anti-vape movement.

His plea doesn’t surprise those who remember that Douglas was behind the huge position shift the American Cancer Society made in 2018(3). The update to its public statement on vaping lent its support to tobacco harm reduction technologies and warned about misinformation being fed to the public.

Many adults believe, erroneously, that ENDS [electronic nicotine delivery systems] are as harmful as combustible tobacco products, and the level of public understanding has deteriorated over time,” it stated.

Cliff has now gone one step further and issued a direct plea to tobacco controllers to desist with their amoral, lying take on vaping and tobacco harm reduction.

In a commentary(4) that he is urging people to share far and wide, Douglas says: “Throughout the 33 years that I have devoted to combating the epidemic of smoking-related illness and death in the United States and globally, I have embodied the mainstream American tobacco control community.”

Namechecking one of the biggest voices opposing vaping today, Matt Myers (president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids), the American Lung Association and the American Heart Association, he tells them they are “now letting down tens of millions of adult smokers, their families and friends, healthcare providers, and government decision-makers.”

We are now neck-deep in intractable internecine warfare between the mainstream tobacco control community, whose primary focus is on protecting youth from the dangers of vaping, and the tobacco harm reduction (THR) community, some of whose scientists are also committed participants in mainstream tobacco control efforts. The THR community emphasizes the potential benefits of vaping for adult smokers who cannot or will not quit smoking otherwise. It seems that ne’er the twain shall meet.”

He urges them, “to climb out of the bunker, come to the table, and try to genuinely work together. Stop skirting the truth when it feels inconvenient and open your minds and ears to all of the science that is before us.”

The full commentary is linked below.


  1. Cliff Douglas -
  2. The American Cancer Society -
  3. American Cancer Society Speaks Up For Harm Reduction -
  4. It is Time to Act with Integrity and End the Internecine Warfare Over E-Cigarettes -

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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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