US: Information Quarantine in Force

In a blistering indictment of lying in the name of 'public health', two prominent tobacco researchers have slammed medical organizations and government agencies for suppressing information about the huge difference in risk between cigarettes and other nicotine products, Jacob Sullum reports in a piece on

Writing in The International Journal of Drug Policy, Lynn Kozlowski, a public health professor at the State University of New York in Buffalo, and David Sweanor, an adjunct law professor at the University of Ottawa, argue that a quasi-official 'information quarantine' surrounding smokeless tobacco and electronic cigarettes endangers people's lives based on implausible utilitarian concerns coupled with 'emotionally charged moral reactions of 'disgust and contempt'.

Later in his piece, Sullum says the writers note that 'a moral outrage has characterized views on tobacco which has been much greater than for other unsafe, legal and even illicit consumer products'.

That emotional reaction explains why 'harm reduction principles have been readily embraced for many decidedly unsafe commercial products (cars, pharmaceuticals, alcohol), and for behaviors often illicit or morally objectionable to others, yet cigarettes and tobacco have been treated quite differently'. Enditem