Vaping News

Anti-Vape BMA Goes Again

The British Medical Association continues to swim against the tide of public health opinion as it undertakes a review of the “growing epidemic of vaping”

Share on:
The British Medical Association (BMA) continues to swim against the tide of public health opinion as it undertakes a review of the “growing epidemic of vaping”. Having set out its position in opposition back in 2015, the organisation (and its associated journal the BMJ) have been siding with the World Health Organisation ever since.

Much of the impetus behind the BMA’s opposition to vaping emanates from a small cohort of anti-tobacco campaigners who found themselves caught offside by the sudden appearance of a consumer-led technological solution they knew little about – Professor Martin McKee, who served as an editor on the BMJ, admitted as much in his earlier pronouncements a decade ago.

Planet of the Vapes has been documenting their opposition for the best part of a decade.

In 2014, fresh from attacking a vaping café owner with a cabal of pompous self-proclaimed public health experts, McKee said: “Most of us…refuse to engage with our attackers.” It was a classic case of the bully attempting to control the narrative by playing the victim.

When Public Health England declared vaping to be “at least 95% safer than smoking” in 2015, McKee and his cohorts were swift to attack the health body, its pronouncement – and smear the academics behind the work as in the pay of the tobacco industry.

I have not and will not accept any kind of funds, payments or hospitality from companies that make e-cigarettes because of the risk of being perceived as tainted on that count. My salary is funded by Cancer Research UK,” said Professor Robert West.

Martin McKee and Simon Capewell resorted to grubby accusations in their joint report on the PHE’s finding, besmirching West as well as Professor Linda Bauld.

Their arguments against the PHE report and related evidence can be easily critiqued. Whether intentional or not, instead of promoting public health, the very considerable influence and energy of these colleagues is discrediting the work of the leading nicotine and tobacco researchers who authored the PHE report,” said Bauld.

Unfortunately, the BMJ analysis piece, by public health figures who had been involved in the original misunderstandings, will probably confuse the public and policy makers and further undermine the credibility of public health science. This topic requires careful, reflective analysis and research, not propaganda,” added West.

But McKee and his peers continued – linking vaping to cocaine and heroin use as part of their barmy anything goes line of attack. His presence noted as the invisible hand behind an attack in 2018; “I can hear a distinct ulster cadence to the Edwardian pomposity,” said PHE’s Martin Dockrell.

Now the BMA is arguing that the opportunities afforded by vaping need to be balanced out against the risks in its latest publication.

These include preventing uptake and use by children and young people; ensuring their use does not promote smoking; and limiting health risks to users and bystanders. A regulatory framework for e-cigarettes should seek to minimise these risks while maximising their potential to reduce the health burden associated with smoking,” it says.

The push to have a further dig around to uncover some “potential dangers” from vaping was announced alongside the document’s launch at a BMA representative meeting in Liverpool. A spokesperson also announced they will be addressing a so-called “growing epidemic” of vaping – reaffirming its insular and isolated approach in the UK.

Dr Naabil Khan went one further, calling vaping a “burgeoning health crisis”.

Advocacy and health organisations have got their work cut out to counter the BMA’s loud concern over “bright colours and packaging, stylised designs, [and] sweetshop-inspired flavours”.

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