8PM ON MONDAY 24TH FEBRUARY
Next week on Monday evening at 8PM UK time UK terrestrial TV broadcaster Channel 4 is featuring heated tobacco in one of its popular “dispatches” style of television program. The full title of the program is: The Secrets of Big Tobacco: Has Philip Morris International Really Given Up Smoking? It is billed as an “investigative” type of program though that can be applied in the loosest sense of the word.
The summary from the Radio Times website is as follows:
More than a decade has passed since major tobacco companies were found to have misled the public over the dangers of smoking. Now, one of the largest firms has said it wants a smoke-free future and offers so-called reduced-risk alternatives. Jane Moore examines Philip Morris International’s campaign and investigates attempts to promote the brand in the UK, while billions of cigarettes continue to be sold across the world.
Will Channel 4 dispatches be fair and balanced or a complete hatchet job? We can’t wait to find out on Monday! Having said that we have been in this game for far too long and we are around 95% sure that it will indeed be a hatchet job, because the mainstream media always seem to get it wrong (either intentionally or unintentionally) when it comes to harm reduction.
PMI (who the documentary focuses around) should be applauded for trying to get regular smokers onto a much better alternative with their “unsmoke” campaign, but we have a feeling that this won’t happen.
The last UK TV program around harm reduction recently was ITV’s documentary “How safe is your vape” and it was utterly disgraceful, let us hope that this Channel 4 dispatches one is a lot better than that. “How safe is your vape?” was so bad that it garnered 381 complaints to Ofcom. They mentioned on the program that people over in the USA were dying from vaping, and completely neglected to mention that the deaths were caused by people vaping black market THC carts that contained vitamin E acetate. As they completely forgot to mention that important fact the casual viewer would have been under no illusion that the deaths were caused by regular vaping. The program also featured mad mechanic Stanton Glantz early on, so you already knew that it was going to be a steaming pile of horse sh*t pretty much from the off. The UKVIA summed it up perfectly in a blog post.
We will have a review of the Channel 4 dispatches program going up not too long after the program airs. One good thing that will come out of this regardless is that it will help to raise the profile of heat not burn and that can only be a good thing.
UPDATE 22.00 24TH FEB 2020: Just as we predicted it was a complete hatchet job. We have one of our team working on our response to a lot of the nonsense contained in the program.
You can read our review of the program right here.