Open Letter To Quit Victoria Director About Ecig Claim

Dear Sarah White,

I write regarding a quote attributed to you that was recently published by at least three media outlets. It was included in news reports about two companies being taken to court for making false claims about e-cigarettes. You were quoted as saying “It’s terrific news the companies are being held to account”.

You were then quoted as saying:

In the UK some health groups promote e-cigarettes as being less harmful than regular ones.

But that’s only because in Britain there’s much stricter regulation regarding what goes into them, Dr White said.

I believe this statement to be false and misleading.

Like you, I think it’s terrific when mistakes are corrected and hope you can help me understand the truth behind this.

Were you misquoted?

The identical quote published by SBS and 9 News suggests an authorised press release.

Did you mean these ‘health groups’?

The Royal College of Physicians were among 13 who jointly signed, “E-cigarettes: an emerging public health consensus” back in September 2015

  • Public Health England
  • Action on Smoking and Health
  • Association of Directors of Public Health
  • British Lung Foundation
  • Cancer Research UK
  • Faculty of Public Health
  • Fresh North East
  • Public Health Action (PHA)
  • Royal College of Physicians
  • Royal Society for Public Health
  • Tobacco Free Futures
  • UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies
  • UK Health Forum

Their joint statement is clear about their view of the relative risks between smoking and e-cigarettes:

There is no circumstance in which it is better for a smoker to continue smoking – a habit that kills 1 in every 2 and harms many others, costing the NHS and society billions every year. We will continue to share what we know and address what we don’t yet know, to ensure clear, consistent messages for the public and health professionals.

What ‘stricter regulation’ explains their position?

Nothing I’ve read supports your explanation for UK public health support for e-cigarettes.

On what evidence did you base your claim that UK health groups promote e-cigarettes “only because in Britain there’s much stricter regulation regarding what goes into them”?

Do you still believe the statement to be true?

Kind Regards,

Mike Bailey

Director, Not Smoking Australia