A big debate has been brewing between pro-vaping supporters of electronic cigarettes as a healthier substitute for tobacco products, and e-cigarette opponents who claim that they are as addicting and cancer-causing as ordinary smokes. However, two anti-vaping academics argue that the big tobacco lobby is behind the scenes promoting the benefits of the smoking devices.
The academics questioned pro e-cigarette supporters' claims in the British Medical Journal. Martin McKee is a European public health professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Meanwhile, Simon Capewell is a clinical epidemiology professor at the University of Liverpool.
McKee and Capewell criticized a Public Health England (PHE) review. It claimed that c-cigarettes were 95 percent less unhealthy than traditional cigarettes.
The two professors stated that the study's sponsors were two groups with connections to e-cigarette makers and tobacco companies. It could affect the start of next month's United Kingdom car smoking ban.
In the United States, anti-smoking advocates are concerned about recent ad trends. After tobacco ads went on hiatus after the U.S. banned them in the 1970s, today's e-cig and vaporizer ads claim that the products are safer than traditional cigarettes, according to Kentucky.
The academics explained that if electronic cigarettes are classified as safe, they would not be banned in vehicles. That would make the ban very difficult to enforce.
However, Ann McNeil, a tobacco addiction professor at King's College London disagrees. She argued that discouraging e-cigarettes would be reckless.
McNeil argued that the products can be effective in helping smokers to kick their smoking habit. She stated that dangerous chemicals in tobacco smoke are non-existent or at levels below 5 percent in electronic cigarettes' vapor.
A growing percentage of smokers believe that e-cigs are as unhealthy as tobacco smoking, based on an Ash survey. The figure surged from 6 percent to 20 percent from the years 2013 to 2015, according to The Guardian.
American Herbert A. Gilbert patented the first e-cigarette in 1963. Although his product was never commercialized, today's electronic cigarettes have the same basic design of his patent.
This video is about the debut of vaping ads in Europe: