Snowdon and Gluggles both believe not, whereas the far left 'public health' community are hanging their hat on him.
@Sempivara They certainly will. @martinmckee is speaking and he is a key #publichealth expert re e-cigarettes.
— Gabriel Scally (@GabrielScally) March 5, 2014
So, an interesting test would be last night's BBC Newsnight where McKee was pitted against Matt Ridley on the subject (from around 38 mins here).
One of the many dubious claims he made was this one.
Now, this rise in the use of e-cigs amongst American youths has been much-trumpeted before by anti-smoking luddites, but they previously did so by omitting part of the story as Jacob Sullum described in November (emphasis mine).
Last September the CDC noted with alarm that the percentage of teenagers who had tried electronic cigarettes doubled between 2011 and 2012. "Many teens who start with e-cigarettes may be condemned to struggling with a lifelong addiction to nicotine and conventional cigarettes," CDC Director Tom Frieden worried. In a Medscape interview a few weeks later, Frieden suggested that fear had already materialized, asserting that "many kids are starting out with e-cigarettes and then going on to smoke conventional cigarettes." Yet the CDC's data, which came from the 2012 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS), did not support that claim. In fact, nine out of 10 high school students who reported vaping in the previous month were already cigarette smokers, suggesting that the increase in e-cigarette consumption might signal successful harm reduction. Last week the CDC reported additional NYTS data that further undermine Frieden's claim, showing that smoking among teenagers fell as vaping rose.
Between 2011 and 2012, when the share of middle school students who reported using e-cigarette in the previous month rose from 0.6 percent to 1.1 percent, the share reporting past-month consumption of conventional cigarettes fell from 4.3 percent to 3.5 percent. Among high school students, past-month e-cigarette use rose from 1.5 percent to 2.8 percent, while past-month consumption of tobacco cigarettes fell from 15.8 percent to 14 percent. Although these trends do not necessarily mean e-cigarettes are responsible for the decline in smoking, the numbers hardly seem consistent with the story Frieden is eager to tell: that the availability of e-cigarettes is leading to more smoking than would otherwise occur.You see, it's clear that while these students may be using e-cigs more, it is undeniable that their use of tobacco is declining at the same time and at a faster rate.
You could possibly argue that Frieden in the US was unaware of the true situation owing to the later timing of the CDC announcement on tobacco use compared with that of e-cig use. However, McKee can't use that excuse as all the facts and figures were at his disposal months before last night.
So when he said "use of these products by 12 to 15 year olds is going up, whereas there has been no compensatory fall in the use of real cigarettes" he was provably wrong and effectively spreading misinformation on the BBC.
Under the circumstances, then, we have to ask ourselves a question. Is McKee lying here? Or is he quite simply not very much of an 'expert'? You decide.
Either way, it doesn't look good, does it?