Just before Christmas, a politician – a former MEP – wrote:
“I was very disappointed to read this…Up until today I thought (you) were a serious organisation, interested in reducing the number of people that die from cancer, but I don’t believe that anymore. E-cigarettes…have shown great potential to get people to stop smoking.
It’s depressing to see (one of your representatives) trying to put a stop to them by spreading misinformation and propaganda for legislation, that risks thwarting a fantastic opportunity to reduce smoking in society.”
The politician was Christian Engström of the Pirate Party. The organisation he was responding to was Cancerfonden. The article in question was one of the more dubious examples of “reporting” of the 10x story I saw during that time.
Another, similar version of the story was posted by Tobaksfakta – a state-sponsored organisation that comprises a group of “We Hate Tobacco” sub-groups. So you get Doctors against Tobacco, Dentists against Tobacco, Psychologists against Tobacco etc…and, oh, Cancerfonden.
This being Sweden, you’d think that all these various groups under the Tobaksfakta banner would be called “XXXXXX against Smoking (But Not Against Tobacco Per Se, Because We’ve Seen The Research And We Know That Snus Is Soooooo Much Less Harmful It’s Daft Even Comparing Them)” – maybe it’s too long. No, of course it’s not too long, it’s that they genuinely are ANTZ of the highest order, and gladly smear snus with any number of junk science references from home or abroad (Margareta Haglund -@farmormottobak – is a serial Glantz/Chapman/McKee retweeter).
So naturally, since they can’t even accept snus, these organisations are piling it on thick when it comes to propaganda and misinformation about ecigs. They don’t really even have to care about convincing the public. As long as they can spread enough sciency-sounding stuff to baffle enough people in government, local authorities and of course Public Health, then they’re fine.
No-one will care – there simply aren’t enough vapers in Sweden to kick up a fuss. But there are over a million smokers. And one day many of them will wonder why and how ecigs got banned on such flimsy evidence. And the answer will be the same as we see in every other country – if there are enough Public Health loons churning out junk science, “concerns” and scaremongering wibble, enough gullible politicians to sign their blank cheques, enough pharma backers and enough tame journalists and media outlets, what the public thinks or does is largely irrelevant.
That mustn’t stop us fighting, however. So I’ve reported the Tobaksfakta and Cancerfonden 10x articles, along with two published in the national tabloid Aftonbladet, to the Press Ombudsman.
I won’t hold my breath. But you never know.