Back in 1964, the Surgeon General released a landmark study that linked tobacco with potentially fatal health risks, such as heart disease and lung cancer. Small-scale studies beginning in the late 1920s suggested a possible connection, and major research efforts were underway by the 1950s, as explained by the American Cancer Society. But the Surgeon General report marked the first time the federal government took a stand on the issue.
Tobacco companies would publish their own findings for decades, employing their own scientists to manufacture a debate. Tobacco use over the years leads to negative, often fatal health consequences. Although often connected to lung cancer, smoking can cause cancer almost anywhere in the body, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including the blood, liver, kidneys, throat and stomach.
Despite billions of dollars paid in settlements, the tobacco industry continues to fight lawsuits against cancer patients who file suit claiming that the companies’ products gave them cancer. These companies also employ a small stable of otolaryngologists, ear, nose and throat doctors, to testify on behalf of the cigarette manufacturers.
The doctors pointed the finger at everything from alcohol to mouthwash to salted fish and more. Doctors and lawyers on behalf of the tobacco companies would pick up on the minutest details of a plaintiff’s lifestyle, even something as simple as living in a city, to create doubt in the minds of jurors.
Given the increasing popularity of e-cigarettes and vaporizers, this sort of study should raise the alarm of any consumers who use these products. Safety evaluations on e-cigarettes are still being conducted, and researchers are working to identify health risks.
In a way, this is almost similar to the state of tobacco research in the early 20th century. If these modern tobacco products pose the same kind of health risks as their combustible counterparts, how long will it take for research to definitively verify that connection and once that connection is established, what recourse will be available if consumers are misled about the safety of their devices.