A lauded tobacco scientist’s crusade against vaping has some critics — and former allies — questioning his research.
NOT MANY SCIENTISTS have fought harder against smoking than Stanton Glantz. As a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco and founding director of its Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, Glantz led campaigns to ban smoking in public places, exposed secret tobacco industry documents, and wrote or co-wrote five books and nearly 400 papers, most documenting the harm done by tobacco.
This story serves as an interesting illustration of how a broad grouping of opposition can become fractured when it comes to specifics and turn allies into foes. There are few topics as emotive as smoking and vaping, but these events illustrate how a respected hero in a cause can find themselves under attack. We have included links to five related items.
“I’d like to just destroy the tobacco industry,” Glantz once said. “It is an industry that kills 5 million people a year. It has no business existing. Make them go do something useful.”
In recent years, however, as a contentious debate over electronic cigarettes has fractured the community of tobacco researchers, many of Glantz’s former allies have turned on the 75-year-old scientist. His critics accuse him of exaggerating the dangers of e-cigarettes and downplaying their benefits. They say that his research into vaping has been driven by politics, not science. Some are even revisiting doubts about his earlier work, saying that his contempt for the cigarette manufacturers — and his activism against them — tainted his influential research into the dangers of secondhand smoke.