Can we trust scientists to be unbiased about electronic cigarettes?
Despite the fact that scientists tend to deal in cold hard facts, there is growing scepticism about the many different groups venting an opinion about electronic cigarettes. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has been the recipient of two very high-profile communications from 53 scientists in favour of electronic cigarettes and 100 scientists against electronic cigarettes. When you bear in mind the fact that many of us believe scientists only deal in cold hard facts, how can they be so very different?
In reality different opinions make for interesting debates and indeed if we all thought the same what a boring place the world would be. However, if we can’t trust the scientist to give an unbiased opinion who can we trust?
Those in favour of electronic cigarettes, raise your hand!
There are many different factors to take into consideration with regards to electronic cigarettes and the 53 scientists who wrote to the WHO in favour seem to have taken a very simplistic approach. Perhaps this is the best way to consider electronic cigarettes especially when you compare them to their tobacco counterparts?
In simple terms these 53 scientists believe that electronic cigarettes offer perhaps the best ever opportunity to rid the world of tobacco addiction. This may be little headline grabbing, a little dramatic and a little emotional, but the fact remains that tobacco addiction is costing millions of lives around the world each and every year. This at a time when governments and state authorities across the globe continue to take, what some see as immoral, tax income on tobacco products. Whether or not you believe in this approach, comparing electronic cigarettes to their tobacco counterparts would seem to place the ecig market in a very strong position – both financially and from a health care cost point of view.
At this moment in time there is no definitive evidence to suggest that electronic cigarettes are in any way linked to long-term health issues although long-term health trials will eventually clarify the situation. Even the most ardent of critics readily admit that electronic cigarettes are at worst “less harmful” than their tobacco counterparts with some suggesting they are 99% less harmful. Therefore we have the potential for health improvements, reduced health care costs and the introduction of a new and vibrant business sector.
Those against electronic cigarettes, raise your hand!
The 100 scientists who wrote to the WHO this week put forward a very emotive and some would say political argument against electronic cigarettes. This group is asking for tighter regulations regarding the sale of electronic cigarettes going forward and indeed made accusations that electronic cigarettes in some way “glamorise” tobacco cigarettes and are a “gateway”. The suggestion that electronic cigarettes are a “gateway” to tobacco cigarettes has been dismissed time and time again and indeed recent surveys in fact show the exact opposite.
It was also interesting to see that some experts believe tobacco cigarette companies will use any potential weakness in electronic cigarette regulations to challenge smoking bans. Whether or not this is a red herring is debatable but there is every opportunity that tobacco cigarette companies would look for a more “level playing field” in the future. Whether you can arguably compare electronic cigarettes to their tobacco cigarette counterparts is again a bone of contention – especially when you bear in mind the 4000+ toxins present in your modern day tobacco cigarette.
The reality is that all medical professionals and scientists first and foremost have an obligation to protect and warn the wider public. However, nobody has as yet managed to put together a comparison of potential healthcare costs going forward if electronic cigarette use continues to grow, compared to historic tobacco cigarette health care spending. All parties seem intent on getting involved in a “political debate” where opinions are often quoted as fact when the data is not necessarily available to back them-up.
In many ways it is confusing to see the opinions and comments from different ends of the scientific spectrum. How can those operating in such similar fields see electronic cigarette technology so differently and why are we not looking at cold hard facts as opposed to what some would call politically based arguments?
Mark Benson is a contributing author for Spinfuel eMagazine. His continuing columns will bring a levelheaded approach to the dynamics involved in realizing a positive future for the e-cigarette industry. For more information on OK Eliquids and other products available please visit the OKCigs website.