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The Global Forum in Nicotine was held in June and 44 participating countries sent policy analysts, regulators and public health professionals to discuss smoking cessation and harm reduction.

An obvious topic was the role of e-cigarettes as an effective tool in preventing smoking.

The UK Centre for Substance Use Research interviewed 167 young people aged 16-25 years in the UK who ‘vape’ about their usage, and found that the majority of them regard it as socially very distant from smoking, was much less harmful than smoking, and they believe that e-cigarettes make smoking seem abnormal.

In the UK, Public Health England characterizes vaping as being up to 95% less harmful than smoking, while...

Just yesterday, I put the finishing touches on an article titled, "10 Worst Bogus Health Stories of 2018." It turns out that my publication was slightly premature. I should have waited a few more hours.

Stanton Glantz is a professor at the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF). He became famous for exposing the shenanigans of the tobacco industry, namely its dishonest public relations campaign to downplay the harmful effects of smoking. As an anti-smoking activist, his efforts have undoubtedly helped save many, many lives.

Unfortunately, Dr. Glantz has become something of an ideologue. His (justifiable) animosity toward the tobacco industry has been turned (...

"Sitting down for a family feast, do you need to gird yourself for battle in the ongoing sociopolitical culture war? In today's hyperpartisan United States, common food products have become proxies for conservative and liberal values. Meat-eating Republicans versus quinoa-loving Democrats. Imported-beer liberals versus domestic-beer conservatives.

Nothing showcases this proxy war better than the rise of gluten sensitivity."

From, The Conversation, Gluten-sensitive liberals? Investigating the stereotype suggests food fads unite us all...

The leaves are turning beautiful colors, the air is crisp, pumpkin spice lattes are back, and college football is entering the conference season. Simply put, the transition from September into October is perhaps the greatest time of the year. Well, unless you're a Maryland Terrapins fan like ACSH President Thom Golab.

But no matter how much fun we're having on the side, we never lose our focus on defending good science. Here's where we appeared in recent days:

(1) Dr. Alex Berezow gave a talk at the...

One of my extended family members is a former smoker. Nagging him to stop did little good. Warning him against its health dangers produced similarly poor results. He was addicted, and he appeared to like smoking, anyway. 

Then e-cigarettes came along. After giving them a try, he quit cigarettes for good. No nagging was necessary. He received the same kick from vaping minus all the nasty smoke that makes cigarettes so dangerous. His blunted sense of smell and taste returned to normal and breathing became easier. 

His story is not unique. Many former smokers credit e-cigarettes with changing their lives for the better. A study in the journal Tobacco Control concluded that...

Relax with WineAlthough they probably don t realize it, teens have discovered a potentially deadly way of getting drunk inhaling alcohol vapors sometimes called vaping (not to be confused with use of electronic cigarettes). As reported on WCBS-TV (channel 2 in New York), alcohol vapor inhalation sends the drug directly to the bloodstream, resulting in a much faster high than if the same amount had been consumed normally.

But not only is the effect faster, it...

The town of Lemon Grove, California, has banned e-cigarettes in bars and restaurants and in public areas like parks, effective October 1st. If that seems a lot like cigarette rules, that is what they intended.

Critics argue conflating the two makes no sense. They both contain nicotine, but so do gums and patches. None of them contain tobacco smoke, which does have hundreds of dangerous chemicals and has been shown to be a risk factor for numerous diseases for over 50 years.

If the rationale is smoke, banning e-cigarettes is not evidence-based but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has instead argued both that they...

Vaping, NOT SmokingIn their ongoing campaign to stifle the truthful communication of risks (hypothetical) and benefits (not yet documented but theoretically huge) regarding the innovative low-risk nicotine devices, e-cigarettes and vapor products, the NYTimes has reached new heights today. Working hand-in-glove with the public health officials, NGOs and politicians whose craving for cigarette tax money and/or big pharma largesse outweigh their ethics, the Times editorialists published an essay misleadingly titled...

The CDC is one of the finest public health institutions on the planet. Because they fearlessly march into "hot zones" to battle deadly infectious diseases, we microbiologists think of the good folks at the CDC as real-life superheroes.

But not everything the CDC does is equally praiseworthy. As Dr. Josh Bloom explains, their portrayal of the opioid crisis has been unhelpful at best and lethal at worst. Their insistence on restricting prescription opioids flies in the face of the overwhelming evidence that the overdose deaths are largely due to the recreational use of fentanyl-laced heroin.

The CDC has also gone on a...

The other day, CNN hosted a 7-hour long climate change town hall for the Democratic presidential candidates. This, of course, isn't the only scientific topic of relevance to Americans. If we were running the debate, we would ask questions about the following science and health topics:

Vaccines. Measles and other vaccine-preventable infectious diseases are on the rise, largely due to anti-vaxxer propaganda.

  • California has passed new laws that will require the state to investigate doctors who hand out more than five vaccine exemptions per year and schools whose immunization rates are below 95%. Should this law be adopted nationwide?
  • Should social media accounts that distribute anti-vaxxer propaganda be shut down? If so, by whom?
  • ...