Vaping News

Asking For Balance

A number of researchers have written a letter asking for balanced language in response to one by ex-presidents of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco

Share on:
In September, fifteen past presidents of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT) wrote a letter calling for more balance and understanding of the benefits and risks of vaping. In a late response, thirteen researchers have asked for academics to move away from characterising scientists as “opponents” or “supporters” of e-cigarettes.

The response letter was signed by Joanna Cohen, Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin, Thomas Eissenberg, Thomas Gould, Micah Berman, Aruni Bhatnagar, Tracey Barnett, Eric Soule, Lucy Popova, Andy Tan, Melissa Blank, Pamela Ling, and Richard O’Connor.

Planet of the Vapes has featured some of these signatories in previous articles. For example, Pamela Ling, University of California San Francisco, has gone on record saying, “we’re not going to allow e-cigarettes to be sold in the city” in 2019.

Despite bountiful independent evidence being available from the United Kingdom, she claimed, “I think some of the problems we currently see, particularly with a product like Juul, has been it was allowed on the market before testing and approval. That leads to smokers and others paying to be guinea pigs for the company.”

Berman receives funding from the staunchly anti-vape American Heart Association, Truth Initiative, and the World Health Organisation. Ling also receives funding from the anti-truth Truth Initiative. Krishnan-Sarin received support from Astra Zeneca and Novartis. Eissenberg is a paid consultant in litigation against the electronic cigarette industry. They hold active financial interests in being “opponents” of vaping.

Then there’s Andy Tan.

In 2015, Tan claimed secondhand vape existed and posed a risk to bystanders – a drum he continued to bang in 2019 using drumsticks made from selective research citations. Tan needs to be perceived as a neutral because his continued funding depends on it – of course he wishes to not be accused of being an opponent of vaping, but his body of work makes it quite clear that he is. It is cited by the FDA and the World Health Organization in their ongoing war against tobacco harm reduction.

Laughably, Tan and the rest accuse the SRNT experts of having “downplayed the literature” on youth vaping – meanwhile they completely, hypocritically ignore large swathes of positive research.

They write: “We challenge the public health and scientific community to move away from characterising scientists as ‘opponents’ or ‘supporters’ of e-cigarettes for three primary reasons. First, many investigators believe that e-cigarettes have potential benefits for smokers in theory; what matters is how these products perform at the individual and population levels in practice and on reducing tobacco-related disparities.”

Harm reduction expert Clive Bates points out that it is not a theory that vaping has benefits for smokers, it is demonstrable fact. He points to papers showing measurable population-level declines in cigarette smoking after electronic cigarettes became available – “here, here, and here just to list a few.”

No reasonable person could argue against the need for more nuance, openness and balance in academic discussions regarding tobacco harm reduction and vaping – but the group behind this letter are not the ones who ought to be playing a victim card.


Photo Credit:

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
View Articles

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.

Join the discussion


Parliament Fears Two

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs faced questions from a Conservative MP and, oddly, a member of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Vaping News

Harm Reduction For The Rich

The United Kingdom risks becoming a harm reduction country only for the wealthy, according to Michael Landl of the World Vapers’ Alliance

Vaping News

Sacrificing Health For 2p Cut

Tory Government alienates vaping voters with its mission to cut tax by an unaffordable 2p to attract voters by placing a tax on vape products in the forthcoming budget

Vaping News

Scotland Announces Single-Use Vape Action

A ban on the sale and supply of single-use vapes in Scotland is due to come into effect on 1 April 2025, under proposed legislation published today