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Thread: A plea to and a reply from Professor Robert West

  1. #1
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    Wink A plea to and a reply from Professor Robert West

    After reading the thread about what our friend Chapman was saying, I wanted to write to an academic who had an open mind who may not be as famous as Dr Farsalinos in the Vaping world, but one who had quite a bit of pull in his own right. Who better than the director of tobacco studies at Cancer Research UK - Professor Robert West?

    Well here's my letter in Italics and below that is his reply in bold.

    Hi Robert,

    I’m writing to you today to ask if you would be willing to address the Cancer Council of Western Australia’s Terry Slevin about the risk factors and health benefits of using electronic cigarettes vs tobacco cigarettes.

    The Cancer Council have made their public position one of opposing e-cigarettes and it mystifies myself and many other Australian “vapers” because evidence suggests e-cigarettes do not have a causal link with cancer. Or rather, there is a lack of evidence on a causal link.

    Here is a link to an article in which he stated the Cancer Council’s position: Court defeat fuels move to ban e-cigs - The West Australian

    As you can imagine, ex-smokers who now use e-cigarettes instead of tobacco cigarettes to get their fix of nicotine find the prospect of banning e-cigarettes scary because it will mean going back to tobacco or using black market products where quality is not assured.

    I am asking you to assist because you are an expert in your field and Australia doesn’t have any public figures currently advocating for e-cigarettes as a harm minimisation device. In fact, we have public figures trying to ban them like Simon Chapman, a tobacco control activist.

    While vapers can lead these people to evidence opposing their beliefs, we cannot make them change their minds. We need professionals on the side of harm minimisation to assist us. To put it bluntly – your words would carry more influence than 5000 vapers.

    Terry Slevin can be contacted here: makesmokinghistory@cancerwa.asn.au
    Simon Chapman can be contacted here: https://twitter.com/SimonChapman6 or simon.chapman@sydney.edu.au

    If you want to offer any rays of hope to Australian vapers, feel free to drop by Activity Stream - AussieVapers | The original Australian e-cigarette community and say hello. There is a thread here: Cancer Council wants WA's tobacco laws changed to specifically ban ecigs where members have written to Slevin and his reply.

    Hopefully yours,

    Timmah.


    Hi Timmah,

    I’m terribly sorry for the late reply – just hundreds of emails to deal with – you know the kind of thing. I agree with you that the idea of banning e-cigarettes is irrational from a public health point of view and we will be publishing findings from England quite soon providing further evidence that these kinds of products can help smokers to come off tobacco. I regret to say that my long experience of Simon Chapman is that he has difficulty interpreting research findings and appears to me to be stuck in a fixed position that smokers should pull their socks up and just quit. It is sad for Australians that he seems to have such a loud voice in your country. However, you do have a very rational public health expert in Professor Rob Borland at the Cancer Council. He doesn’t shout from the rooftops like Simon but more lives could be saved in Australia if the powers that be listened to him.

    Finally I must make it clear that unlike Simon I do not have a fixed position on this. E-cigarettes hold huge promise but whether they end up saving or costing lives remains to be seen – at present it looks very much like the former, but it’s early days.

    Best wishes

    Robert.


    He seems to be a decent bloke who's unwilling to let moneyed interests dictate what his position will be. I'm glad that he admits that he could change his mind and also for pointing out an Australian contact in Professor Rob Borland at the Cancer Council. It would appear Terry Slevin isn't the be all and end all when it comes to "experts" at the cancer council. Perhaps we should write to Rob Borland.

    I also find it highly amusing that Chapman is well known internationally as being a bit of a pineapplepineapplepineapplepineapplepineapplepinea pplepineapplepineapple.

    You can follow Robert's twitter here: @robertjwest

  2. #2
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    Thanks Timmah. It might be worth chasing down this Rob Borland and seeing where he stands. Not that I thought Slevin was a big shot, just another ignorant drone.

    It would be good to have some academics on our side. I've been wondering where all the harm minimisation advocates were on this issue.
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    No worries Rose. Hope you got a laugh out of this: "I regret to say that my long experience of Simon Chapman is that he has difficulty interpreting research findings..."

    I plan on looking up Rob Borland for sure.

    *Edit - Turns out it's Ron Borland...
    Last edited by timmah; 09-12-13 at 03:02 AM.
    margyb, lozza 82, spud and 1 others like this.

  4. #4
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    This will come up on his google alerts and he'll rub one out over it i'm sure.

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    Well done Timmah
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    Quote Originally Posted by tugboatofdeath View Post
    This will come up on his google alerts and he'll rub one out over it i'm sure.
    You think Chapman will rub one out over another professor calling him stupid?
    margyb, Driesy77 and Bobthebuilder like this.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by timmah View Post
    You think Chapman will rub one out over another professor calling him stupid?
    Probably not. "Has difficulty interpreting research findings" will after all extend to that statement as well. It's a circular argument.
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    Chris: Tobacco free since 17:00 15th March 2013.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fabricator4 View Post
    Probably not. "Has difficulty interpreting research findings" will after all extend to that statement as well. It's a circular argument.
    I know you're being facetious, so I did laugh.

    I do think though, that when he sees a professor in the same field as him calling him a douchebag, his winkie will shrivel to the size of a sultana...

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    Except that the man is probably a narcissist, and any press is good press. He doesn't mind being on the receiving end on what he perceives as persecution.. he keeps a webpage where he keeps all the critical comments people have made about him. The God complex helps him to ignore the criticism completely. It's not a bad combination of mental health issues, really.

  10. #10
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    Thanks Timmah,

    So many great quotes in this paper by Ron Borland and Nigel Gray.

    http://www.electrocigar.com.ar/articulos/bmj.d6269.pdf

    "However Health Professionals should be able to suggest to smokers who are unable or unwilling to use effective aids to quit and who are interested in e-cigarettes, that these are a better option than continuing to smoke. And although it is better not to use any form of nicotine long term, if patients must, e-cigarettes are a lower risk option than continuing to smoke"

    Another of his quotes...

    “…the death and disability toll from cigarette smoking is far too high not to be doing all that we can. The rise of a consumer movement, as I understand almost entirely consisting of ex-smokers, supporting the use of e-cigs is the first social-level evidence that there might now be substitutes for cigarettes that will be readily taken up by smokers. These and other strategies should be actively considered…”

    Professor Ron Borland, Distinguished Fellow in Cancer Prevention, Cancer Council Victoria & Professorial Fellow, School of Population Health, University of Melbourne
    Last edited by Donna; 09-12-13 at 07:49 AM. Reason: added another quote

 

 
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