E-Cigarettes and the media – the highs and lows of getting the evidence into the news
Time: 11:55 - 12:10
Date: Thursday 3rd December
For a science press officer in the UK, there was no more boring subject in recent decades than smoking – until around 2013 when e-cigarettes began to take centre stage. Governments and health bodies were divided, and a subject which had enjoyed almost universal consensus became suddenly controversial. The UK government signalled their backing to e-cigarettes as a quitting aid and vape shops sprang up on every high street. Journalists were interested again. But media coverage has been mixed; editors are always attracted to a juicy scare story and some journalists remain deeply suspicious of the legacy of this new(ish) technology. How should the scientific community communicate such a divisive and emotive subject to the public? What does ‘good’ coverage look like when apparently even researchers can’t agree? And what can scientists do to ensure e-cigarettes are reported responsibly and accurately? Tom Sheldon leads the work on e-cigarettes at the Science Media Centre and he will talk about his experience working with scientists and journalists on this battleground subject.
- Tom Sheldon Senior Press Manager - Science Media Centre