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Prominent Professor Doubles Down on Support of Vaping

Despite evidence of the relative safety of e-cigarettes compared to smoking, scare tactics from government agencies continue, and they are apparently working. Surveys show that the number of people who believe that e-cigarettes are as dangerous or even more dangerous than tobacco smoking has increased. But experts who who know that e-cigarettes are less harmful are fighting back. Recently a British health professor renewed her statements from a year ago about e-cigarettes, stating unequivocally that they are safer than smoking and that their use as an alternative for smokers should be encouraged.

Linda Bauld is Professor of Health Policy at the University of Stirling and Deputy Director for the UK Centre for Alcohol and Tobacco Studies. As an expert in tobacco harm reduction, Professor Bauld has been encouraging the use of e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes for quite some time. In December of 2015, she stated in the UK publication The Guardian that there is no evidence that e-cigarettes are has harmful as smoking. This was not the first time she was involved in the e-cigarette debate, with the article being a follow-up to a response she wrote a year earlier to someone who was claiming that e-cigarettes are dangerous. In the first days of 2017, Bauld once again confirmed her position in The Guardian, with an added criticism of governments around the world who seem determined to scare smokers away from e-cigarettes without any scientific evidence to back up their claims.

By now it is well known in the e-cigarette and vaping community that the British Royal College of Physicians has published a report on e-cigarettes and concluded that they are 95 percent safer than tobacco smoking. In addition, this expert body of physicians, along with other health organizations in the UK, has publicly declared that the UK government should encourage smokers to switch to e-cigarettes.

But across the Atlantic in America, as well as in some other countries, the official word on e-cigarettes is far more negative. It’s not that experts in the UK have access to some different evidence that completely disagrees with the evidence Americans and other have. The evidence the UK health experts studied is available everywhere, and has been studied everywhere; the difference is in what health organizations and governments choose to report. Professor Bauld and many others recognize patterns in reporting, like ignoring important data and promoting certain concepts, like keeping e-cigarettes out of the hands of children, while ignoring adult smokers and the issue of harm reduction.

Some say there may be too much hysteria about children and youth driving the fear mongering about e-cigarettes, while others suggest that money may be behind it, with pharmaceutical companies positioned to suffer financially if e-cigarettes were to become the cessation method of choice for smokers.

Whatever the reason behind the faulty reporting, scare tactics and misrepresentation of real scientific data on vaping, Professor Bauld and many other health experts are becoming a little angry. Those who genuinely want to see smokers quit the deadly tobacco habit consistently report that e-cigarettes are safer and that switching to them is a positive, healthy step for smokers.

Electronic Cigarettes • April 5, 2017

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