A Prayer for Those Who Debate E-Cigarettes

I posted the other day about the research evidence on snus (Swedish snuff) and what it might teach us about the costs and benefits of E-cigarettes. I reviewed some conflicting data and suggested that there was some complexity to the issue, and that I was optimistic about the future of safer forms of tobacco but cautiously so. I got a few intelligent emails, but the bulk of the reaction with which I was blessed fell into one of two types, which I summarize below.

(1) There is no doubt at all, no complexity, and no nuance, Dr. Humphreys. E-cigarettes would save hundreds of millions of lives if only shills and liars like you would get out of the way. You are in the pay of the nicotine patch industry aren’t you?

(2) There is no doubt at all, no complexity, and no nuance, Dr. Humphreys. E-cigarettes will claim hundreds of millions of lives because of shills and liars like you. You are in the pay of the tobacco industry, aren’t you?

Which brought to mind this prayer:

Lord, grant me the wisdom to seek the truth, and save me from those who think they have found it.

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over thirteen thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.