Public Health Professor: War on Vaping Kills Smokers and Protects Big Tobacco
Professor David Sweanor is no stranger to the dangers of smoking. As one of the leading anti-tobacco activists in the world, he has spent more than three decades trying to rid the world of cigarettes. He played an integral role in Canada’s tobacco related policies and he has been a staunch supporter of the anti-smoking movement. In a recent interview, Sweanor courageously spoke out against many of his colleagues who have condemned vaping. He defended vapor devices as a smart alternative for smokers and urged that the war on vaping must stop or it could cause devastating consequences to public health worldwide.
Sweanor said the anti-smoking lobby’s obsession with demonizing vapor products is mind-boggling. “I think it’s one of the most counter-productive things that we’ve ever seen,” he said. “We’ve known for decades people smoke for the nicotine, they die from the tar, they die from the smoke. That the nicotine itself, that the dosage level somebody’s looking for is not particularly hazardous so it can be usefully compared to caffeine.”
Nicotine is not the enemy and Sweanor said that caffeine would be just as deadly if people were smoking it. “If we got our caffeine by smoking tea leaves rather than brewing tea, that too would be killing us not because of the caffeine but because we’d be sucking smoke into our lungs.”
By eliminating the smoke from the equation, Sweanor said that vaping devices have offered a much safer alternative for smokers. “Anybody who’s open minded and actually understands the science and is willing to look at it, is saying there is no question that it’s way less hazardous.”
Sweanor finds it puzzling that so many people support legalizing marijuana and needle exchange programs, but they have an abstinence-only mentality when it comes to nicotine use. It’s not a black and white issue though. Even worse, by painting vapor products as evil, it’s causing many smokers to shy away from switching because they falsely assume that vaping will be no safer than smoking. “It’s scaring people and if you have reputable institutions coming up with research that is saying how bad these things are, again, it’s telling smokers ‘keep smoking’.”
As for those pushing for tight regulations on vaping products in his homeland, Sweanor said their actions would have devastating effects long-term. “All they’re really doing is protecting the cigarette business and killing more Canadians.”