Electronic cigarettes and history: why do countries have different policies?
09:00 - 09:15
Evidence and Research
Electronic cigarettes are controversial. This new technology in the smoking field has been welcomed by some, severely criticised by others. Do e-cigarettes potentially reduce the harm from smoking by diverting smokers down a safer route – or do they amplify harm and also recruit new smokers? Evidence on these points has been produced but has been treated differently in different national contexts.
This paper will present ideas and themes arising from a pilot cross national study funded by the Wellcome Trust involving the UK and Australia. We argue that these divergent national responses relate to many issues which have little to do with ‘evidence’ as a value free construct. The presentation will compare these different national policies and histories. We argue that ‘evidence’ is global. But unless we understand how evidence fits into national histories, structures and contexts we will not understand the divergences in policy towards e cigarettes.
- Prof Virginia Berridge Professor of History - London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
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