It’s no secret that the Australian Medical Association hasn’t been very supportive of the somewhat-recent vaping movement. They’ve taken a zero-tolerance stance on smoking, and despite the fact that vaping isn’t smoking, they seem to have absolutely no tolerance for vaping either.
The Australian Medical Association rejects smoking, and they reject viable alternatives to smoking like vaping. With a stance like this, it seems that the AMA believes less in harm reduction and more in a strict, “just say no” kind of approach, right? Well, apparently the AMA only feels that way sometimes. After all, they openly support other proposed methods of harm reduction like pill testing, but we’ll discuss more on that later.
If the AMA’s policy on vaping seems unreasonable to you, you’re not alone. In fact, Doctor Colin Mendelsohn, a 30-year member of the Australian Medical Association, said that he could no longer tolerate the hypocrisy of the AMA.
The principles behind the statements and actions of the Australian Medical Association are pretty unclear at this point, mostly because they’re inconsistent, nonsensical, and, as Doctor Mendelsohn puts it, hypocritical.
He promptly cancelled his membership and said good riddance to an association that he’d clearly had enough of. He was even involved enough in this situation to write an online post about how frustrating and unethical the AMA’s stance really is.
The AMA Supports Pill Testing?
Doctor Mendelsohn wasn’t on the same page with the Australian Medical Association when it came to vaping. That’s fine, disagreements happen. No educated adult should be surprised by someone disagreeing with them, even if the other person is clearly incorrect.
The way Dr Mendelsohn sees it, vaping is an alternative to smoking that is most likely less harmful. We can’t say that vaping is harmless, because it really isn’t. However, according to a study conducted by Public Health England, it’s likely to be at least 95% less harmful than smoking. At this point, no doctor would try to say that vaping is completely harmless, but if vaping might help, why shouldn’t it be available to adults that need the help to quit?
This is the question that Doctor Mendelsohn was posed with. He didn’t agree with the AMA’s stance at all, but it seems as though he was content to “live and let live.” At least he was before the Australian Medical Association vocally supported pill testing.
What Is Pill Testing?
Pill testing is the act of chemically testing a pill to see whether or not it’s the right stuff. It’s no secret that quite often now people are dying because they were given a supposed drug that turned out to be a completely different drug. This can lead to overdosing if the safe dosages aren’t pretty similar, so it’s a serious and growing problem. These cases of overdosing regularly occur at music festivals.
What is the Australian Medical Association’s solution? Well, no official measures have been taken, but the AMA recently proposed that pill testing could be helpful. We agree that pill testing could save lives. It’s a preventative measure that would almost surely reduce the amount of harm that drugs wreak on music festivals and other gatherings in which their use is somewhat commonplace.
One thing is unclear to us. If pill testing reduces the amount of harm, why does the Australian Medical Association like it? They’re very clear about the fact that they’re not interested in harm reduction when it comes to vaping and smoking. Why is harm reduction suddenly okay when the concept is applied to hard drugs?
It’s a pretty bizarre and frankly embarrassing contradiction to make publicly. Someone who didn’t know any better might just assume that members of the AMA prefer hard drugs over cigarettes. If that isn’t the case, they should clearly explain their position on vaping, smoking, pills, and harm reduction.
If the AMA doesn’t want people to draw very obvious and damning conclusions from their contradictory statements, they really need to explain their way around why harm reduction is okay for pills but not smoking.
Mendelsohn Speculates On AMA’s Hidden Agenda
Dr Mendelsohn takes this a step further by saying that the AMA’s “policy inconsistency suggests there are hidden reasons for opposing vaping other than the ones officially given.” Could Dr Mendelsohn be right, is there really a hidden agenda behind the AMA’s official stance on vaping?
He goes on to say that the AMA “has a long-standing commitment to a ‘quit-only’ approach to smoking. Accepting a behaviour that resembles smoking and involves nicotine may be seen as an admission of failure. It can be hard to change established thinking. The AMA position is based on the fear of potential risks.”
Wow, Mendelsohn is really calling the AMA out. He’s basically saying that there’s one big difference between smoking and pills to the AMA. The difference is that the AMA has been condemning smoking and, by extension, vaping for a very long time. Such is not exactly the case when it comes to pills.
Smoking kills thousands every year, but harm reduction, in that case, isn’t okay with the AMA, because it might look like they are admitting to being wrong. That seems to be Dr Mendelsohn’s take on the AMA’s contradictory stance on harm reduction’s validity when it comes to cigarettes and pills.
It seems to be a logical assumption for Dr Mendelsohn to make. If harm reduction is fine in one case but condemned in another, there needs to be a reason. The fact that the AMA’s personal history with cigarettes is touchier and seemingly more personal than their history with pills doesn’t look good for them.
Scientists are to look at facts objectively. Being petty and irrational isn’t a good look for men and women of science. There’s no direct evidence to support this theory at this time, but Dr Mendelsohn seems to think it’s pretty likely, and the AMA has, as of yet, not provided a reason for the public to believe otherwise.
Mendelsohn appears to be trying to make sense of what he perceives to be the AMA’s non-sensical, contradictory views, and until the AMA responsibly explains or attempts to explain their error, we’re inclined to view Dr Mendelsohn’s theory as a potential explanation for the Australian Medical Association’s skewed views.
After all, the AMA’s official views vary drastically between cigarettes and pills. There has to be a reason for that, right?
They’re hesitant to acknowledge modern science (a very odd move for scientists) as it would undermine statements that they made in the past.
Dr Mendelsohn Stumps The AMA With Their Own Code Of Ethics
If Mendelsohn’s claims are true, what makes it even worse is that the AMA is protecting its ego at the expense of those that they’re supposed to be helping. To quote Dr Mendelsohn on the matter, “The AMA is also in breach of its own Code of Ethics which advises doctors to consider the interests and well-being of their patient first.”
Dr Mendelsohn has a good point. If the AMA is trying to cover something up, they’re in very turbulent moral territory. If they’re protecting their own egos by condemning the health of their patients, their doctors are breaking their own code of ethics.
Dr Mendelsohn Plainly States Why He Thinks The AMA Is Wrong
Dr Mendelsohn goes on to say: “This principle applies to smokers who have tried and repeatedly failed to quit. If these smokers switch to vaping they are likely to have substantial health improvements. If they continue to smoke, up to two in three will die as a result. The AMA says they should keep smoking.”
He’s putting it out there plain and simple. He’s saying that this situation is black and white. Vaping is out there, and it can help smokers quit smoking. It may even lead to substantial health improvements.
He’s saying that if they keep smoking, according to statistics, two-thirds of them will die. According to the official stance that the AMA repeatedly takes on vaping and smoking, dying is their only option unless they can force themselves to quit.
Well, on that positive note, we want to pass the question on to our readers. Although we believe we already know the reaction that vapers, in general, will have to this story, we want to hear everyone’s thoughts.
Was Dr Mendelsohn too harsh on the AMA, or is it about time that someone spoke up about their blatant hypocrisy? Does it seem as though the AMA cares more about pill-takers than smokers? Should they favour one over the other, or should they treat them equally?
Is the AMA avoiding the fact that their past info might’ve been wrong, or is there another way to explain the inconsistency in their statements? Overall, what do you think about this story? Let us know.