Anti-Vaping Activists Exacerbating Coronavirus Crisis
Fear-Mongering Agenda Only Compounding Public Health Concerns
The ongoing global coronavirus pandemic has posed one of the greatest public health crises in history. Despite this, anti-vaping activists continue to promote a fear-mongering agenda that may only be further burdening our public health system and costing lives around the world.
However, public health experts are speaking out against this, noting that if more officials had encouraged smokers to switch to vaping or other forms of cessation, the COVID-19 mortality rate would be far lower. One of the key figures behind this perspective is Dr. Michael Siegel, professor of Health Sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health.
Anti-vaping activists have repeatedly parroted claims that vaping may potentially exacerbate coronavirus symptoms. This is not in line with the current scientific consensus and has been disputed by an array of public health experts and even the Centers for Disease Control.
Public health officials have specifically cautioned against smoking amid the coronavirus pandemic, noting that it may exacerbate symptoms and lead to worse outcomes for some patients. They encourage the use of cessation aids such as vaping devices to help people quit and stay off tobacco.
Fear-mongering misinformation about the coronavirus crisis may only be worsening the pandemic, says Dr. Michael Siegel of the Boston University School of Public Health. He notes that if anti-vaping activists had embraced vaping as a form of cessation to help people quit smoking, an actual modifier of COVID complications, the mortality rate would be far lower.
“It’s absolutely true that if more public health activists had embraced e-cigarettes instead of opposing them and more smokers had been encouraged to switch, there would be less mortality from COVID-19 today,” Siegel said in a statement. The professor is renowned for his embrace of proactive public health strategies over prohibitive policies, such as the “mitigation over prohibition” model.
He notes that immediately restricting access to cessation options while allowing access to tobacco amid a time of panic and heightened stress, many who smoke will continue to do so. “What people need to understand is that smoking is such an addictive behavior, and it’s not just the nicotine, it’s the psychology as well. In the middle of a pandemic, when people are under so much stress, asking these people to just quit cold turkey is ridiculous,” Siegel stated.
Siegel’s views are not only in line with the current scientific consensus surrounding vaping, but the broader public health community as well.
Many public health experts and harm reduction scholars have spoken out in favor of vaping and against its prohibition. In one instance, a group of renowned public health scholars joined together to speak out against blanket bans on vaping and highlight the promises and potential it may provide adult smokers. In a piece published in the journal Science, the group notes that there is currently no evidence that vaping is harmful, and that prohibitive policies simply turn former smokers back towards tobacco or black market alternatives.
Time and time again, vaping has been repeatedly demonstrated as a remarkably effective smoking cessation aid. For example, research published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that vaping was more effective than traditional nicotine-replacement therapies in helping people both quit smoking and remain tobacco-free. In addition, research conducted by the University of Louisville found that vaping was the single most effective form of smoking cessation available.
In addition to the evidence noting vaping’s efficacy in aiding smoking cessation, there is a multitude of studies noting the reduced harm vaping poses compared to smoking as well. As an example, separate investigations by Public Health England and the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, each found that vaping is 95% and 93% safer than smoking, respectively.
As mentioned, many public health scholars have spoken out and against various prohibitive policies targeting vaping. They understand the promise and potential vaping provides, as well as the ramifications regarding their restriction.
Members of the global vaping industry and community must stand together against such agendas and the various restrictions and prohibitions that follow them. The consequences of inaction are far too grave to ignore, given what’s at stake for all of us amidst this unfolding pandemic.
What are your thoughts regarding the potential consequences of anti-vaping agendas amid the coronavirus pandemic? Do you believe they may have worsened the overall mortality rate? Let us know what you think in the comments below, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to receive all the latest vaping news!
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