Clive Bates - former head of ASH, remember - has critiqued their letter in detail, describing it as the worst he has seen in 2014. Here are some highlights.
There’s a hint in The Worst Letter of 2014 that this fearless foursome somehow think they are plucky underdogs in this debate (they apparently believe they have shown “temerity” in putting their point of view!). This cannot pass unchallenged. They have the money, the institutional support, abundant obedient researchers, captured journals, compliant editors, press offices and easy media access, tobacco control conferences, extensive networks, secure tenure, negligible accountability, and the misplaced public trust that comes with having ‘professor’ in your job title. The vapers that these professors taunt have none of this. Is it any wonder that some of them express themselves forcefully through the media that are available to them?Quite.
This is true of all tobacco control, and has been for a very long time - they are no David to industry Goliath as they like to claim. They have been the highly-funded bullies of a gagged seller and customer base for quite some time now. They just can't bear to hear dissent and have been accustomed to silencing it with ease, so the dinosaurs in their ranks are upset that they are finding the same tactics so difficult when handling vapers.
The authors of The Worst Letter of 2014 write as if they are owed a place in public debate, as if they have a right to airtime and column inches, and so resent intrusion of something not in their script. To claim that their preferred policies are driven out of public debate is also obviously absurd. The tobacco control establishment has plenty of opportunities to promote its favoured tobacco control techniques – and the news is full of stuff on plain packaging, banning smoking in cars and parks, taxing the poor and mentally ill and so on. It is plain silly to complain that vaping is obstructing any debate on these things, especially given the enormous public sector, foundation and charitable resources thrown at tobacco control and against e-cigarettes. If the authors of The Worst Letter of 2014 really are losing public interest so catastrophically, then it might be worth asking why, and then listening carefully to the answer.Amen to that.
Do go read the whole article here.