Wednesday, 20 Mar 2019

We ignored the evidence linking cigarettes to cancer, let’s not do that with vaping

Since 2011, e-cigarettes and vaping has increased in teens since 2011, and we still don’t know the long-term health effects

Today, it seems so inherently obvious. Cigarettes and tobacco cause lung cancer. It is remarkable however, that this relationship wasn’t always so clearly defined. In fact, during the initial rise in individual cigarette use, the possibility that they contributed to lung cancer was laughable to some, derided by others.

Dr Evarts Graham, a pioneer of lung cancer surgery, openly scolded one of his colleagues and former trainees, Dr Alton Oschner, for suggesting in 1939 that smoking cigarettes was a “responsible factor” for the rise in lung cancer he was seeing in his own clinic. Graham reportedly responded to this suggestion by stating, “Yes, there is a parallel between the sale of cigarettes and the incidence of cancer of the lung, but there is also a parallel between the sale of nylon stockings and the incidence of lung cancer.” In other words, social trends may come and go, but their link to the changing incidence of any medical diagnosis is likely only circumstantial.

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