Public Health Expert Says Misleading Vaping Reports Costs Lives

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After a rash of reports out of the US attributing a mysterious lung illness with vaping, New Zealand officials stepped in to correct the record for their citizens. 

Vaping has only been around for the last 15 years, or so. But in that time, it’s become an increasingly debated topic. Despite growing evidence proving e-cigarettes are not only safer than smoking, but an invaluable smoking cessation tool, many legislators and media outlets remain focused on the unknowns.

While it’s true we don’t have very long term data quite yet, the overwhelming majority of the data we have points to clear and obvious advantages across the board. This trend reached new heights recently, as several reports around the US have been circulating, connecting vaping with a scary lung infection.

Despite there not being any solid evidence indicating vaping is the cause of these problems, the media has wasted no time to spread the story like wildfire. This move has only fanned the flames around the vaping debate and made it even less likely smokers understand what making a switch could do for them.

Only time will tell what type of broader impact this new rash of illness will have on the vaping community. However, in America, legislators are ready and willing to spread this misinformation. Health officials in New Zealand have taken a decidedly different stance.

Defending Vaping

It’s been a scary few weeks to be a vaper, given all the stories in the news about vapers in the hospital with severe respiratory symptoms. Most of these stories have attributed the cause of this mysterious new condition to vaping nicotine, which there is currently no hard evidence supporting.

It’s essential to be diligent in ensuring the products we use every day are safe. That said, when media outlets step in and pick a catchy headline, misinformation becomes a massive problem.

Earlier this week, the Ministry of Health in New Zealand issued some statements on the recent vaping scare that has been sweeping countries such as America. Public health expert, Prof. Janet Hoek said of the reports, “every person who reads a misleading headline and puts down their vape to pick up a pack of cigarettes again will unnecessarily lose, on average, 20 years of their life.”

Others in the vaping community have been very skeptical of these reports and what sort of larger impact they might have. Some experts even worry that by placing the blame firmly on vaping for this mysterious illness, we may make it more difficult for researchers to uncover the full causes.

Is Vaping Safe?

While these new reports have been scary for vapers, the independent research we have on vaping indicates things maybe being blown out of proportion. We have data going back to 2015, which shows vaping is at least 95% safer than continued smoking according to research by Public Health England.

This harm-reduction value has been shown many times. Not only did researchers from the Roswell Park Institute show toxicants in vapor are 93% lower than in cigarette smoke, but evidence suggests the excess lifetime cancer risk of a vaper is about 57,000 times lower than a demographically similar smoker.

It’s not just the harm reduction value either. Vaping has also been shown to be one of the single best smoking cessation tools we currently have at our disposal. A study by researchers at the University Of Louisville tested all the most common smoking cessation tools and methods before determining vaping is the single most likely to succeed.

But perhaps the most important thing we know about vaping thanks to tireless research is the risk they pose to teens isn’t nearly as bad as the media wants you to believe. In fact, a report of over 60,000 teens concluded that only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens are ever vaping more than a couple times, let alone ending up smokers.

Implications

While it is, and will always be, extremely important to ensure vaping isn’t causing more harm than good. Everything we have so far clearly indicates that it doesn’t. Despite this, the media is obsessed with trying to sell vaping as the same as smoking.

The truth is that in all the ways we can currently tell, vaping is the clear and obvious choice over smoking. Smoking still kills more people every year than any other preventable cause, and if we start to equate vaping and smoking, it will only reduce the chances of smokers ever giving it a chance.

More importantly, for those who have already switched to vaping. If we don’t fight back against this misinformation now, it could only be a matter of time until our vaping rights are taken away for good.

What’s the most important part about vaping for you? Are you worried about these new reports? What do you think is the best way to handle vaping moving forward? 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.

(Image Credit – Pixabay – https://pixabay.com/images/id-583174/)

Jimmy, lover, blogger, vaper and ex-smoker. I’ve been blogging about and supporting Vaping since 2009. They changed my life and I think history will show them as one of the most significant public health invention of the 21st century.

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