December 07, 2013

Abstinence Only Crusade Transcends Science

A recent op-ed in the New York Times looked at the insanity of the anti-ecig movement and the zoo that was the hearing on e-cigarettes in the NYC council last week. The author, confounded as to why public health advocates aren't dancing in the streets decided to ask around. One of the people he asked is Dr. Siegel who pointed out this has become much less about keeping people alive, and more about some kind of moral obligation.

The reason to fear this resemblance, say opponents of electronic cigarettes, is that “vaping” could wind up acting as a gateway to smoking. Yet, so far, the evidence suggests just the opposite. Several recent studies have strongly suggested that the majority of e-cigarette users are people who are trying to quit their tobacco habit. The number of people who have done the opposite — gone from e-cigarettes to cigarettes — is minuscule. “What the data is showing is that virtually all the experimentation with e-cigarettes is happening among people who are already smokers,” says Michael Siegel, a professor at the Boston University School of Health.

Siegel is a fierce critic of tobacco companies, but he’s also not afraid to criticize the anti-tobacco advocates when they stretch the truth. When we got to talking about the opposition to e-cigarettes in the public health community, he said, “The antismoking movement is so opposed to the idea of smoking it has transcended the science, and become a moral crusade. I think there is an ideological mind-set in which anything that looks like smoking is bad. That mind-set has trounced the science.”

via Two Cheers for E-Cigarettes – NYTimes.com.

It sort of reminds me of other abstinence-only crusaders, the ones who oppose any sort of safe sex or birth control. That has been pretty well proven to be unsuccessful. Why is it people just can't be pragmatic these days?

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