Big Pharma Is Lying About Vaping To Protect Profits
Another day, another story about Big Pharma finding new ways to spread misinformation across the internet.
The Daily Caller reported earlier this week that the American Thoracic Society’s — known as ATS — Tobacco Action Committee has made controversial and inaccurate statements about vaping. The most outrageous of these claims lies in the statement that ATS made in a press release, regarding the “misconception” around vape products.
“Frank Leone, MD, chair of the ATS Tobacco Action Committee, believes the misconception that e-cigarettes are safer than traditional cigarettes is driving the trend to increased use, which puts children and other first-time users at risk for significant health problems,” ATS said. The comments came after new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed an alleged stall in youth tobacco use since 2011.
To begin with, the CDC statement is dishonest in scope and results. The American Vaping Association slammed the reporting, citing that the analysis included vaping products as part of overall tobacco use, even though there is no actual tobacco in any vape products.
The CDC pinpoints the years between 2011 and 2015 as the dates of analysis, a period in which vaping surged among minors, mainly those in middle and high school, despite the age restrictions. This is the time where they say smoking stalled in this age group.
What was the part they left out? That between 2011 and 2015, traditional cigarette use drastically decreased among high school students, going down from 15.8 percent to 9.3 percent.
This is flagrant misinformation on the part of the CDC, as vape products are not currently categorized as tobacco products under federal law. And this type of data analysis has led to ATS — and other groups — claiming that the results show that vaping is just as harmful, or could even be used as a gateway towards smoking traditional cigarettes.
But back to ATS. This medical “nonprofit” group is already suspected of being a marionette for Big Pharma companies, and one only needs to look at the list of beneficiaries to see the correlation — both Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline are listed as corporate members to the group. In fact, Pfizer gave the group nearly $700,000 between 2011 and 2015, the dates listed in the CDC’s analysis.
It is also important to note that Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline have a fiscal stake in the outcome of the vaping industry — both are makers and distributors of smoking cessation gums and products. These products are competitors to vaping, which seems to become more popular than more traditional ways of quitting smoking. This translates to fewer profits for Big Pharma.
And GlaxoSmithKline already stands accused of misinformation-baiting. In 2014, a series of emails, obtained through FOIA requests, showed the company actively lobbying for tight restrictions and regulations on vape products.
And what about the claims that vaping products are just as harmful as tobacco products? Well, the “misconception,” as ATS puts it, has already been laid to rest. Studies done in a 2013 study published in the journal Tobacco Control and an independent study done last year by Public Health England have both proven that there is no evidence that vape products are anywhere near as dangerous as traditional cigarettes.
So while the ATS may stand to some as a beacon of integrity and ethics, be reminded that the ATS receives corporate money from Big Pharma, which can play a part in the misinformation game they are playing. And nowhere on the ATS site does it claim to be an independent nonprofit, working for your best interests, not even when vaping, something they’re fighting against, can help save lives.