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Public Health Conflict Over E-Cigarettes.

Public Health England

When the Public Health England (PHE) e-cigarette report was published last year they were roundly criticised by a surprising group; the Faculty of Public Health. 

The Faculty of Public Health (FPH) are, according to their website responsible for setting the standards for those in Public Health.  They are a joint faculty with the Royal College of Physicians, though are independent of them. They are, they state, “a strategic organisation and, as such, works collaboratively, drawing on the specialist skills, knowledge and experience of our members as well as building relationships with a wide range of external organisations.” 

That they should attack PHE so publicly, in the Lancet was a shock for many, but what has transpired, from a Freedom of Information request, is that an employee of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (and someone that has very close ties with the FPH), was conspiring with the Chief Medical Officer about ways to discredit the PHE report, even going so far as to tell her that the now famous 95% safer figure, was actually created by British American Tobacco - this of course is not true.

E-cigarettes consistently shown to be far less harmful that tobacco. 

As one blogger wrote – “Fellow public health professionals are being accused of being duped by BAT without there being a shred of evidence behind his theory.” 

Further damning evidence has appeared from this FOI, including what appears to be an admission to an article smearing PHE, that was originally denied. 

Public Health England’s remit is “to protect and improve the nations health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities”. It is therefore a strange set of affairs when two Public Health bodies are in such conflict about a product that has been consistently shown to be far less harmful than tobacco cigarettes. 

22nd January 2016, 11:00