It seems that every aspect of Covid-19 will be contested. Students of the history of public health politics will be having a strong sense of deja vu: the field is littered with heated debates that in essence are about numbers.
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As someone who has worked in the field of tobacco control for some 40 years, I have witnessed many such debates. First, there was the question of how risky smoking was; then the addictive nature of tobacco. There were questions over how much safer low-tar cigarettes were. Then, of course, there was the issue of the harmfulness of passive smoking. Most recently there was the claim that e-cigarettes were 95% less harmful than “normal” cigarettes.
To my mind these tobacco control dramas have had one important thing in common: a