Inside a laboratory in suburban Southampton, a corporate display board includes a portrait of Paracelsus, the 16th-century Swiss “father of toxicology”. It sits above his most memorable adage: “All things are poison … the dosage alone makes it so a thing is not a poison.” Next to this is the logo of British American Tobacco (BAT), whose cigarettes have poisoned to death more people than it would probably care to calculate. The lab, part of the tobacco company’s sprawling research and development centre, is a rare indoor space where smoking is legal. Marianna Gaca, a BAT biologist, shows me a robot. A dozen or so steel mouths spin on a wheel, each designed to hold a cigarette. Fat syringes draw the tobacco smoke along tubing into sealed petri dishes that contain human lung cells. The machine used to be part of BAT’s doomed attempts to make its cigarettes safer. Today, it has a different role: the smoke it draws serves as a toxic point of … [Read more...] about Up in smoke: are we wrong about the dangers of vaping?