By Tom Pruen
On Philippine television (video available on YouTube) the following statement was made:
“The most dangerous thing about this product is that the nicotine goes directly to the lungs while regular cigarettes have a filter. With this delivery device the nicotine goes directly to the lungs.”
Now if this was the statement of some well-intentioned but clueless member of the public, it would be wrong, but understandable. However, this was the pronouncement of a doctor (of what, I am not entirely sure, given the complete lack of knowledge expressed in this brief statement, possibly a PhD in media studies?); even worse, a doctor who works for the World Health Organisation as a ‘technical officer’ advising, it would seem, on tobacco products.
On the face of it, this is a person who could (and should) be expected to be able to tell the difference between nicotine and smoke. But in a statement of complete ignorance and stupidity, he apparently does not know the difference – or indeed know what the filter on a cigarette is for.
The filter on a cigarette is intended to reduce the amount of tar (essentially combustion by-products including a wide range of polyaromatic hydrocarbons, and other products of pyrolysis, several of which are known to be strongly carcinogenic) delivered to the users’ lungs.
It is worth noting that despite the filter, a significant amount of tar is still delivered to the user, which is why smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death.
Electronic cigarettes do not have (and do not need) a filter for one, very simple, reason:
They do not generate any smoke, and hence contain no tar. None at all. There is nothing to filter out.
Why is a technical officer, who is also allegedly a doctor advising on tobacco on behalf of the WHO, so utterly clueless that he is unable to differentiate between smoke, with all the dangerous combustion by-products it contains, and nicotine?
Clearly this is a man who has spent too long reading his own (and his organisation’s) propaganda.
To add even more insanity to this pronouncement, I suspect that Dr Trinidad’s recommended treatment for tobacco addiction is NRT, despite the fact it contains the same nicotine he assumes to be so dangerous.
He even goes so far as to imply that tobacco cigarettes are safer than electronic ones – completely ignoring all the evidence to the contrary.
The World Harm Organisation strikes again.