If Brian Marlow (Legalise vaping Australia group campaign at Terrigal, Coast Community News, Jan 18) wants to promote e-cigarettes on behalf of the tobacco industry that has the majority of vaping devices on the market, he should be honest in stating the facts.
The 95 per cent safer figure he uses was advocated by a flawed ‘panel of experts’ found to have links to this industry.
The eminent scientific journal, “Lancet”, stated in this claim; “the authors themselves accept it’s methodologically weak”, which is made all the more perilous by the declared conflicts of interest surrounding its funding, raising serious questions not only about the conclusions of the report but also about the quality of the agency’s peer review process.
Mr Marlow’s lack of respect for science is further demonstrated by his claims about the efficacy of e-cigs to promoting smoking cessation.
In fact, recent evidence from a longitudinal study in the USA shows that rather than reducing smoking, e-cigs are expanding tobacco use among youth.
The recent upsurge in e-cig use in the USA, due to heavy promotion of these products, has been found to now have stalled previous reductions in smoking prevalence.
Heat not burn (HNB) tobacco products, of which e-cigs are just one of the variants pushed by the tobacco industry, are now actively marketed in a number of countries in the same way as cigarettes were decades ago.
This has led to a rapid upsurge in the use of these harmful products as well dual use, with a survey showing 72 per cent of HNB tobacco/e-cigarette users also concurrently smoked cigarettes.
A World Health Organization (WHO) report concluded that “the evidence for the safety of e-cigarettes and their capacity to aid smoking cessation has not been established.”
Furthermore, the Union, a leading global authority on Tuberculosis and lung disease, state that: “The potential benefits and risks from HNB tobacco products to the public health remain undetermined, but early independent research indicates that the tobacco companies are understating the risks.”
The government’s recent policy on e-cigs sets out clear guidelines on why we need to maintain a healthy scepticism over unfound claims by those whose only motives are to profit from selling these products.
Email, Jan 22
Dr Tahir Turk, Springfield