THE SCIENCE OF SMOKING

I started smoking to make myself look older. And I have to say, I think it’s beginning to work!

The problem was when I tried to stop. It turns out that cigarettes, and the little parcels of nicotine they deliver, really are addictive.

As it happens, I was in the pharmacy the other day. And there, on the counter, was a new product. An electronic cigarette. Well, everything is electronic these days; so why not fags?

Looking just like a filter cigarette, it has a lithium-ion battery which you recharge by plugging it into your computer – I kid you not. When you suck on it, it produces what looks exactly like curling smoke, but is actually water vapour, and delivers the ‘hit’ of nicotine.

In comparison, traditional tobacco cigarettes contain around 80 carcinogenic chemicals. The electronic version is also a fraction of the price of real cigarettes.

I have to report that I have now been smoking the e-ciggy for two weeks, and haven’t been back to the real thing since. Yay!

And then it happened: the headline “Experts Warn Electronic Cigarettes Can Damage Lungs”. Here we go again.

It didn’t take too long before Junk Science stepped in with “science by press release”.

It turns out that this headline is based on a report by Professor Gratziou from Athens. Having said that, her actual research paper has neither been published nor peer reviewed – which means it’s not actually available for analysis.

What’s more, the “study” doesn’t find that the use of electronic cigarettes causes damage to the lungs. Rather, it suggests that there is an “observable effect”. In other words, inhaling water vapour has an immediate and short- term (ten minutes) effect on the lungs. Wow, who would have thought?

Want to know who has funded this study? Google the professor’s name and the words “financial conflict of interest”, but don’t be too surprised at what you find.

Once again science with an agenda distorts the truth. These e-cigarettes have weaned me off the deadly weed and its cocktail of poisons. And yet here is “science” trying to scare people from using them.

Perhaps the headline should be “Unethical Junk Science can seriously damage your health.” At least it would be an honest headline.

And with that out of the way, I make two predictions. Firstly, e-cigarettes are going to become a massive hit – if you haven’t seen anybody “vaping” yet, you soon will. And, secondly, the bureaucrats will find some way of taxing them.

Remember, you heard it here first.

Drew McAdam

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