When Public Health England declared that ecigarettes are 95 percent safer than smoking, the world took notice. It created a firestorm of controversy as the world argued over whether PHE was truly telling the truth and what the implications could be for future laws. Now a new report from The Lancet claims that PHE was not forthcoming with information. In fact, the study cited by PHE was partially funded by the ecig industry.
PHE’s statements came from statistics in a 2014 paper written by former UK government chief drug advisor, David Nutt, and his colleagues. The original paper claimed that cigarettes were the most harmful nicotine product at 99 percent harm, whereas ecigs only had four percent rate of relative harm. That is where PHE got the “95 percent safer claim”.
According the The Lancet, PHE was not entirely honest about the facts because it never revealed that the study authors had links to the ecig industry and smoking cessation groups, which was a potential conflict of interest. “PHE clams that it protects and improves the nation’s health and wellbeing. On this occasion, it has fallen short of its mission,” The Lancet said.
Despite ongoing criticism of their recent pro-vaping stance, PHE isn’t backing down. In fact, they hope that NHS will soon provide free ecigs to smokers who are trying to quit. In the future, they plan to promote more research to show just how important ecigs are for smokers who cannot manage to kick the cigarette habit cold turkey.
It’s not surprising to see PHE facing such criticism. It seems that anytime a major organizations takes a pro-vaping stance, they immediately get blasted. No one wants to acknowledge that electronic cigarettes really could be the answer to the world’s greatest health crisis.
Do you think PHE should have revealed the potential conflict of interest in their initial report? Will this hurt their pro-vaping agenda in the long run?