Dr Colin Mendelsohn is a well-respected tobacco harm reduction expert who wrote an article for the Australian website Education HQ advising schools on strategies to deal with vaping among students.

The article was posted then withdrawn. Dr Mendelsohn received an email from the editor saying: “Unfortunately my managing editor has decided we need to unpublish your article for now, I'm terribly sorry. He is working through a concern that's been raised around your relationship with the vape and tobacco industry.”

The editor refused to reveal where “a concern” came from, although in the context of Australian vaping politics, the source was probably the same group who drip poison into gullible ears whenever the chance arises.

That aside, there was no challenge to the content of Dr Mendelsohn’s article. In fact, it ticked every box of Education HQ’s own editorial guidelines. The article was evidence-based and clearly expressed; it was fair and balanced; there was absolutely no risk of harm, quite the opposite; and the information was easily obtainable from a range of credible and published sources. The author was also obliged to disclose any conflicts of interest. In this case, there were none because Dr Mendelsohn categorically denies any involvement with industry. This seemed to be the sole rationale for censorship, in which case one might have been tempted to suggest a defamation suit if the article had not been restored which might have brought the shadow people out into the light.

As it happens, the article was revived with a disclaimer which can be viewed here:


Dr Mendelsohn is no stranger to this anti-THR witch hunt. In his follow-up blog he writes: “The complainants rarely discuss the merits of the evidence presented. Their modus operandi is to throw mud to silence pro-vaping messages…They also contact organisers of conferences, seminars and educational meetings where I have been invited to speak and flagrantly impugn my integrity and independence.”


As all those who have been subjected to this anti-THR witch hunt know full well, allegations of industry stooge are so much smoke and mirrors. In default of any willingness to engage in meaningful debate or to produce credible counter-evidence, those who lurk in the shadows can only resort to personal attacks. But in Australia, those who sling the boomerang of lies and smears shouldn’t be surprised if, one day, it comes flying back in their direction.