Medical professionals in the U.K. are fuming. While doing research for an anti-smoking campaign, a director of public health came across a BBC article about rolling the perfect cigarette. He and his colleagues were anything but amused.
Despite outrage from the medical community, which called the piece “breathtakingly irresponsible,” BBC says the article will stay right where it is. A social media executive at BBC Online said the article is part of H2G2, a user-generated content site with the aim of creating an all-encompassing 'guide to life.' And life, for some, includes lighting up. BBC says since the article was written by an H2G2 user and not a BBC journalist, it did not have to be held to the same standards as other BBC content.
Though the article did carry a non-endorsement disclaimer from BBC staff, the post still raises questions about the responsibility of news organizations to curate user-generated content. John Britton, the head of a U.K. tobacco advisory group, said his concern was that children could easily come across the article and be motivated to try smoking. "There would be widespread outrage if the BBC had information on their website that explained how to inject an intravenous drug," he said. "It is no less irresponsible or bizarre for the BBC to explain how to roll cigarettes in this way."