Fake News Alert! Mainstream Media Once Again Misleading The Public With One In A Million Case


CNN, among others, are circulating a story about a teen who “developed” wet lung after vaping for only a few weeks

Fake news in America has become a serious issue that affects almost every part of society. The way things currently are, most people are much more interested in stories that back up their preconceived notions than offer the facts. What’s making it worse is that the mainstream media has become increasingly willing to spread bombastic headlines in an effort to sell more papers. Vaping has become a particularly hard hit industry, with a vast majority of the general population under the assumption that vaping is just as, if not more dangerous than smoking.

It seems like every few days another story based on barely anything is making the rounds at all the major news outlets. The truth is we have several large-scale peer-reviewed studies that strongly indicate vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking, while also being the best smoking cessation tool we currently have at our disposal. Regardless of these much more reliable reports, CNN among others has been circulating a story about how vaping for even just three weeks could cause the debilitating condition known as “wet lung”. The only problem is that this story is only about one person’s allergic reaction to vaping, falling way short of indicating a growing trend or even several troubling isolated cases. Fake news at its finest.

The CNN Report

The report in question, spread by the mainstream media, details the story of an 18-year-old woman from Pennsylvania who developed a severe respiratory condition after starting vaping only three weeks earlier. According to the story, she developed severe enough symptoms to warrant being admitted to a hospital where doctors began testing her. It was determined after her condition continued to get worse that she was suffering from what is commonly known as wet lung. This generally involves high levels of inflammation in the lungs leading to “leaky” blood vessels which in turn makes fluid accumulate and causes infections. After they were able to determine precisely what was the matter they were ready to start her on antibiotics that cleared up the issue in just a few days. It seems that the inflammation was caused by an allergic reaction to one of the flavorings in the vape juice.

This case was used as the basis for a new report aiming to reign in e-cigarette use. Interestingly, the authors seem to understand that this story is misleading, being unable to say how this particular case could indicate a coming problem, saying “It is difficult to speculate on how frequently this could happen.” This is because the heart of this story is that a person had an allergic reaction, not a widespread concern for all vapers. Despite this fact, the authors are more than willing to throw vaping under the bus as the primary culprit and definite problem. They even went as far as to question if vaping will ultimately lead to more negative health consequences than even tobacco use. These types of unfounded and unnecessarily bombastic claims spread by reputable news outlets are directly leading to the pitiful public perception of vaping.

The Large Scale Evidence On Vaping

As mentioned above, it’s not for lack of long-term and large-scale information that leads to CNN and others spreading small scale, and cherry-picked info. We’ve known since at least 2015 that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking thanks to the comprehensive report published by England’s public health agency, Public Health England. We also know thanks to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Louisville that vaping is not only a useful smoking cessation tool, but it’s also the most likely tool to lead to a successful quit attempt. We even now have evidence that the excess lifetime cancer risk of a vaper is around 57,000 times lower than a demographically similar smoker.

But one of the most common concerns referenced by public health officials and parents about vaping is the perceived gateway effect between vaping and smoking. The story goes that by legitimizing vaping for its harm reduction and smoking cessation value, teens will begin to see vaping as 100% harmless and many non-smoking teens will start. Taking things even further, many claim that these non-smoking teens who picked up vaping will eventually switch to full-blown smoking. As you can imagine, no evidence has ever really backed up these claims, with the large-scale evidence we have on the topic indicating that only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens ever pick up vaping, let alone start smoking.


Fake news has always been an issue in society, but these days the problem has become massive. At the end of the day, fake news makes real news not only harder to see, but also harder to believe. It means that trusted sources of information can no longer be taken at their word. In a way, this is a good thing, in that it forces more people to look into the facts themselves, but ultimately it’s causing more division and strife than anything else.

Stories like the anti-vaping one discussed above are directly leading to fewer people understanding the facts. Despite all of the positive long-term and large-scale evidence we have on the topic, only one off cases and cherry-picked results are likely to reach the majority of the public. That’s why it’s so important we work to spread the real facts on the dangers and benefits of vaping. We know that vaping can play a significant role in ending the smoking epidemic once and for all, we just need to give it a fair chance.

Did you hear about this wet lung story on the mainstream media? Why do you think most news outlets opt for misleading stories over reporting the facts? How can we best spread the actual benefits of vaping? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.


Dustin has been vaping for almost a decade. He found e-cigarettes in 2008 and quickly became drawn to them as an early adopter. He's been writing reviews ever since and has established himself as a well-versed authority on the subject.

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