E-mails from different British scientists (who prefer to stay anonymous after pressure was put up against Martin McKee and others, who spoke up against Public Health Engand (PHE):

E-mail received on June 25, 2019:

PMI funded Change Incorporated (part of Vice Media), is filming smokers and invited panel guests at venues around the UK – presumably following up on full page ads in UK press fairly recently. I was contacted by a producer from company Innovision inviting me to participate in an Edinburgh event. 

Worryingly she noted that [sic] "Change Incorporated has been set up by VICE Media in order to reach its huge national demographic of young people in the hope that it’s brand – which is regarded as ‘cool’ and ‘knowledgeable’ will reach people in a way that more traditional campaigns are failing to do."

Rather more honesty than their funders may have anticipated…

E-mail received on Sept. 23, 2019:
...In my view it is misleading to describe these products as ‘safe’ or even ‘safer’. Having a lower level of some of the toxins found in tobacco does not equate to safe, and some talk about ‘less harmful’, which is actually still a speculative framing. The robust evidence on the health harms from vaping is still very short-term and tobacco is so devastatingly harmful. As time goes on I do not find myself being reassured by the research I see on the health impacts of vaping.

I have yet to hear a cogent response to concerns that were raised early on in this debate by toxicologists Combes and Ball : https://www.researchgate.net/publication/289674033_On_the_Safety_of_E-cigarettes_I_can_resist_anything_except_temptation1

My own feeling remains that PHE’s treatment of issues like ambient vapour, association of vaping with youth initiation into cigarettes, and the possible and actual role of e-cigarettes in a wider stop smoking picture (or specific harm reduction circumstances) has been overly optimistic and too narrowly framed throughout, and that its focus on commercial/recreational products comes at the expense of a thorough wider public health analysis.

Internationally, there was also a third independent review published in August 2018 by the Australian agency CSIRO which looked in detail at both the PHE and NASEM reviews and concurred with NASEM’s approach. This was updated in December 2018; it finds the same perspective as NASEM having thoroughly reviewed the evidence in both the PHE and NASEM reports. https://www.csiro.au/en/Research/BF/Areas/Nutrition-and-health/Public-health-and-wellbeing/Case-studies/E-cigarettes-report

Regarding an earlier post, Gerry Stimson does have documented direct and indirect links with the tobacco industry, see the University of Bath’s excellent Tobacco Tactics website https://tobaccotactics.org/index.php?title=Gerry_Stimson
including a funding relationship with the Foundation for a Smoke-free World (a vested interest of tobacco multinational Philip Morris).

E-mail received on Oct. 10, 2020:
...in my observation there are very worrying wider signs and signals in terms of wider democracy and free speech being challenged and subverted in the UK, with heavy commercial self-interest and strong influencing. And due to the public health capacity being pulled away (understandably) to deal with COVID, it is hard even to keep track.