Their Product is Doubt: Dr. Satel shows how the CDC is the new Big Tobacco

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Vaping, NOT SmokingDr. Sally Satel, a psychiatrist and addiction specialist, has penned another brilliant essay, this one on Forbes.com. In her piece, Dr. Satel methodically constructs a web of evidence to indict and convict the so-called public health establishment at the CDC, and their lackeys at the California Dept. of Public Health, for what (in our opinion) rises to the level of a conspiracy to keep smokers hooked and kill the nascent e-cig industry.

Her words: The tobacco companies are no longer blowing smoke about the hazards of combusted-tobacco cigarettes. But the critics of electronic cigarettes an important new technology that has the potential to replace smoking worldwide have begun mass-producing doubt about the product.

Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and, independently, the California Department of Public Health launched public education ad campaigns aimed at derailing the future of e-cigs. The ads are teeming with half-truths, speculative harms, and massive spin.

She concludes thusly: The CDC and the California Department of Health have ripped a page from the Big Tobacco playbook. Strongly call out the point Controversy! Contradiction! Other Factors! Unknowns! as Hill and Knowlton, the PR firm that advised the tobacco industry, urged it to do in the 1950s and 60s.

By warping the perception of risk, these agencies will surely create enough doubt about the very real benefits of e-cigarettes that smokers will simply say to themselves, Why switch? And keep inhaling dangerous smoke. If there were such a thing as public health negligence, the nation s flagship public health agency and California s health department could rightly stand accused.

I have been following this phony controversy promulgated by the CDC and its acolytes. Dr. Satel s eloquence is too tempered, I fear, by civility: she refrains from calling a spade a spade, using words like misleading instead of lying, and negligence when in fact these people are involved in a fraudulent, possibly criminal conspiracy to exaggerate the hypothetical risks of e-cigs while downplaying the lack of effectiveness of their beloved FDA-approved patches, gums and drugs. The obvious question: What might cause these icons of public health to abandon their ethics, professional responsibilities and their oaths of office to lie to smokers about the potential benefits of e-cigs and vapor products? I fear it s a combination of power and money: the multi-millions of dollars flowing from the Master Settlement Agreement to state coffers as long as cigarette sales are high, and the similar amounts donated to health nonprofits from Big Pharma. Thanks are due to Dr. Satel for keeping the pressure on.