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Real Scientists Stand Up for E-Cigarettes

30th October 2014

How do you know who is a scientific leader in the field of tobacco harm reduction? Increasingly it is clear that the leading researchers - persons involved directly in the field of treating cancer and who see the harms of tobacco daily, or are leading meaningful, intelligent research, or who have apprised themselves of all the available evidence - are defending e-cigarettes as a means to aid public health and save lives. In the exchanges I have seen between scientists for and against e-cigarettes, it is obvious the more thorough analysis and reasonable position is shown by those standing up for vaping as a means to assist tobacco harm reduction.

It is rare to see such a strength of feeling within the scientific community on any subject and also to see that so many of the best researchers are strongly opposed to the opinions and policies of public health agencies.

And that strength of opinion is growing in the countries that have seen the greatest anti-vaping policies, like Italy and France.

French Doctors stand up for e-cigarettes, condemn Public Health policy

Italian Doctors support e-cigarettes - see here and here.

Part of the debate centres on the Precautionary Principle and how it should be applied to vaping as a cigarette alternative. The debate has shown how NOT to use the precautionary principle. In the case where an alternative to something that we know is more toxic, becomes available, the precautionary principle supports that alternative, until evidence exists to the contrary. So that means the precautionary principle must be used to support vaping at this time.

When we hear so much about the precautionary principle being used to support restriction of e-cigarettes, it is surprising also how often the argument is used, when scientists are often much more quiet in other situations, such as the promotion of diesel engines which are more toxic than other types, or on the effects of a new food ingredient or industrial chemical. The levels of worry applied here are usually much less and should be higher. If the same approach was taken to the myriad of other chemicals and pollutants in our lives, one would have to suppose that the increase in cancer, diabetes and dementia that has occurred during the chemical revolution in the western world since the 1970's (non lung cancers) could have been avoided.