Monday, 16 February 2015

Sally Davies; Professor of 'Health' Garbage!

Anyone who saw the recent 'interview' between Gavin Esler and Professor Dame Sally Davies on BBC television will understand my increased anger. Whilst the good professor stated that the upcoming ban on smoking in cars with children will not encompass vaping, she still found it necessary to take the usual sideswipe at e-cigarettes, suggesting that some e-liquids had been withdrawn from sale because they had caused chronic lung disease. This was a blatant lie. In fact, one e-juice vendor company withdrew a butterscotch-flavoured juice because it was found to contain traces of diacetyl, which has been linked to workers in factories who, having worked for long periods with diacetyl, had developed a condition known as 'popcorn lung'. No vapers were harmed in this scenario!

To me, this claim was not the worst. There were two other claims that outraged me, as they would, I am sure, anyone else who has a scientific mind - and that should include the Chief Medical Officer of Health, given that she advises the government on medical matters. Because I am an idle typist, I shall cut and paste here my complaint to the BBC, so I don't have to write it all out again:

Full Complaint: "I refer to a recent interview with Professor Dame Sally Davies (Chief Medical Officer of Health), where she made several false, misleading or untrue statements with regard to the government's imposition of a ban on smoking in cars with children. 1) She agreed with the presenter that smoking prevalence has dramatically decreased, yet went on to say that illnesses that have been attributed to 'second-hand' or 'passive' smoking are on the increase. Anyone of a scientific mind would realise that such cannot be the case unless a) the diseases are NOT caused by environmental tobacco smoke and b) some other causative factor must be to blame. 2) She declared that butterscotch flavouring had to be withdrawn because it causes chronic lung disease. This is simply not true. 3) She made the claim that smoke in a car was up to 11 times worse than in a pub when smoking was allowed. This is utterly meaningless in terms of what size of car, what size of pub, how many smokers used the pub, over what time -scale. Then she added that, as for opening the car windows, it's an unhealthy atmosphere. Did she refer here to the ingress of traffic fumes, or to reduction of the smokiness of the car? As a scientist, and an adviser on public health, she should know better than to make such sweeping and unscientific statements. 4) I cannot understand how such inaccuracies went unchallenged by an experienced interviewer; he could not have failed to notice them. Could he?!"

Today, I received a reply, in the form of a 'round robin'sent to all who registered a complaint:

"Thank you for sharing your concerns about an interview with the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, broadcast on the BBC News Channel.

The main point of the interview was to get Dame Sally's views on the upcoming ban on smoking in cars with children. At one point presenter Gavin Esler asked if the ban also covered 'vaping'. Dame Sally explained that it would not and she went on to express her concerns about the potential health impact of e-cigarettes:

"They put in flavourings - we don't know the impact of those. Butterscotch had to be withdrawn because people got chronic lung disease."

This was seemingly in reference to a story broadcast by the BBC last year, where we found that an e-cigarette liquid manufacturer had included a potentially dangerous butterscotch flavouring in one of its products. Experts said that the flavouring, diacetyl, had been shown to cause very serious lung conditions in the past.

So Dame Sally was correct in that there had been a case of butterscotch flavouring being withdrawn over health concerns, although we appreciate that you feel this point could have been explored further. During a live interview it’s not possible to question a guest over every point they raise and, in this case, the main point of discussion was the upcoming ban on traditional cigarettes.

Once again, thank you getting in touch."

With that whitewash, my complaint was dismissed.

No wonder I get angry!

1 comment:

  1. Now you need to write a letter of complaint, complete with your case number, addressed to BBC Complaints, PO Box 1922, Darlington, DL3 0UR.

    Dont accept being fobbed off with boilerplate!