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November 20, 2016

E-Cigarette Summit 4: Vape Heavy Weights Debate

This summary of the summit condenses my five years of watching the vape issue unfold-

I’ll jump straight to the panel discussion here as there was some criticism of the BMA.Sara Jakes of the New Nicotine Alliance pointed out in the panel discussion that e-cig companies are not allowed to market on a health/quit smoking basis, as the BMA think they should do, so they don’t have much choice but to market on a life-style basis.Because of the negative press e-cigs get, she added, vaping is increasingly being equated to smoking, only the night before she had been thrown out of a pub for vaping.Professor West argued that the BMA and their ilk had a massive fear of getting it wrong.They should take a different approach, stop thinking of what they know/don’t know and become good Bayesians i.e. they should ask themselves what their strength of belief is, and then adopt that strength of belief, adapting it each time new evidence comes in.Ram agreed that e-cigs were less harmful but argued that doctors were worried about being drawn in to support ecigs, especially with the history of doctors supporting the tobacco industry in the past.Dr Abrams from the audience compared the negative attitude to e-cigarettes to condoms. He said it’s like telling your son not to use condoms to avoid HIV because he might get a rash from the latex.Prof. West argued that all people need us to do is NOT to give out rash and misleading information.

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