…what we do with scientific evidence is always a political and moral judgment. We don’t provide health care to the sick because the evidence forces us to. We provide health care to the sick because such activity is in keeping with our values. Likewise, we might choose to morally oppose certain policies (e.g., capital punishment) even if there is solid scientific evidence of benefit (e.g., if it is ever shown conclusively that capital punishment reduces crime). It would be dishonest to hide behind the evidence and say, for example, that science made us put a helpless human being to death; that moral judgment falls on all of our heads.
To drive home the distinction between scientific evidence and its application, consider the strong scientific evidence that risk for addiction is highest in adolescence. It is just as evidence-informed to respond to these data by targeting alcohol and cigarette advertising at adolescents (as some companies have done) as it is to respond to these data by targeting addiction prevention programs at adolescents (as health professionals do). The problem with addiction-promoting companies isn’t their lack of reliance on scientific evidence, but their lack of decency.