It shows the laughable standards to which the World Health Organisation adheres, for example, that they class mad mechanic Stan Glantz as one of their go-to experts on vaping. His insane wibblings on the subject are - to the casual reader - indistinguishable from parody at times. Yesterday is a case in point.
[The Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association] is actively trying to undermine the CDC's Tips for Former Smokers campaign by posting this ad, which looks exactly like the Tips ads, except that it endorses e-cigarettes as a cessation device.
These kind of look-alike campaigns (as they are also running against California with this campaign) may seem funny, but, as explained in the film Merchants of Doubt, are used to confuse the public and public policy makers.Confuse the public and policy makers? OK, let's have a look at one of these 'CDC Tips' ads which are being 'undermined', shall we?
The inference, of course, is that e-cigs contributed to this problem for Kristy. Except that the real story (which most Americans won't find) is significantly different.
"I tried e-cigarettes, but I just ended up using both the electronic kind and my regular brand," she said. Eventually, Kristy quit e-cigarettes and went back to just smoking cigarettes.So the inclusion of e-cigs in that ad is entirely irrelevant. It is the very definition of a "campaign to confuse the public and public policy makers" which Stan condemns.
The copy may as well have read "I started using nicotine patches ... until my lung collapsed", or "I started using Champix ... until my lung collapsed", or "I started chewing a carrot ... until my lung collapsed". It is nothing but a cleverly worded smear against e-cigs, designed to put people off trying them.
It's not an accident, either, as CDC director Tom Frieden illustrates in a New York Times article from Friday.
What’s more, he feared that there was a “significant likelihood that a proportion of those who are using e-cigarettes will go on to use combustible cigarettes.”
“That this is happening,” Frieden added, “is alarming.”Except that study after study - in every jurisdiction in the world - is proving that this isn't happening at all. Most recently in Wales, but also in the whole of the UK, France and, yes, in Frieden's own USA.
There quite simply is no "likelihood" whatsoever, let alone a "significant" one. Again, this is just another tobacco control industry 'merchant of doubt' trying to pretend that there is a problem. One might even call Frieden's statement one designed to "confuse the public and public policy makers", eh?
Back in the real world, what Glantz is attempting - and what has been the modus operandi of tobacco controllers for the past couple of decades - is to pretend that the truth is whatever Glantz says it is, and that anyone opposing him should be ignored. The debate is over once aircraft engineer Glantz and his sociologist tobacco control chums have formed an opinion, and if you disagree you must be a tobacco industry shill or an 'astroturf' mouthpiece.
Sadly for Stan, no-one is buying his shit on e-cigs, however much the WHO pimp it out. His industry employed the same lies, misdirection and torturing of facts towards smoking, and was largely successful because there are a lot of vehemently anti-smoking people willing to believe any old crap if it condemns tobacco. The same doesn't apply to e-cigs, with only the most anti-social cretins and curtain-twitching prodnoses - you know, the type of utter bore you cross the road to avoid on the way back from the shops - being remotely bothered by vaping.
Up and down the UK (and, I suspect the US too) - most especially in working class areas in my experience - the presence of e-cigs is becoming ever more visibly prevalent if not ubiquitous in places. From burly bin men to latte-sipping credit controllers, e-cigs are becoming a normal part of everyday life and a respected alternative to smoking.
Even amongst the medical profession, little by little attitudes are changing, with individuals being won over every day, as described in this article at Clive Bates's blog today (do go read). Being an anti-vaper when you've been anti-smoking for a long time is fast being seen as an unsupportable position; ridiculous even. Which it is, hence why even members of Bristol's fiercely anti-smoking Tobacco Research Group are now producing articles criticising junk studies designed to produce headlines which "are used to confuse the public and public policy makers".
Glantz and his irrational hatred of e-cigs is fast isolating him in a corner he painted for himself. The only way out for him now is a conversion of epiphanic proportion which turns him into advocate of e-cigs, or some hitherto undiscovered ailment which starts affecting vapers in huge numbers. But considering the most damning studies thus far, after a decade since e-cigs started becoming mainstream, tend to warn of such catastrophes as an itchy throat, I don't rate his chances much.
Like some crack addict clutching a lottery ticket and confidently predicting that better times are just around the corner, Stan's lunacy towards e-cigs is determining his future. It's a sad one of producing fantasy blog articles of diminishing interest to the serious medical community, whilst desperately craving the advent of a miracle e-cig-borne disease which will rescue his accelerating descent into scientific obscurity and irrelevance.
Hopefully taking the WHO's credibility down with him.