The Guardian Promotes Ignorance

The Guardian newspaper is promoting a warped viewpoint on vaping and a ridiculous report, painting them as reasonable contributions to the harm reduction debate

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The Guardian newspaper is promoting a warped viewpoint on vaping and a ridiculous report, painting them as reasonable contributions to the harm reduction debate. Its headline might state that vaping is “definitely” better than smoking, but what followed is a repetition of half-truths and hysterical lies.

Opinion writer Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz’s wrote: “Is it better to vape than smoke? Definitely, but it’s still worse than quitting entirely”. As openers go, it’s an opinion that can be supported by the statements made by British public health organisations.

Then, like a theme park roller coaster, it goes downhill rapidly.

Meyerowitz-Katz raises the subject of a “new report into vaping” which includes “calls to ban vaping entirely” and raises “a great number of questions”.

Gideon bemoans the fact that expressing “the slightest hint of a position on vaping would get you immediately inundated with passionate replies” on social media. Maybe this wouldn’t happen if the position taken accounted for all the evidence?

He calls the report “fantastically comprehensive”, which simply serves to illustrate a willingness to ignore a sizeable bulk of independent evidence.

There’s pretty good evidence that vaping nicotine products is habit-forming and addictive, and there’s a great deal of concern among epidemiologists that specifically in young people vaping can lead to smoking, which is obviously a bad thing,” he says.

In fact, according to the evidence updates and position statements made by Public Health England, the Royal College of Physicians, and the Royal Society of Public Health, nicotine is no more addictive or harmful to health than drinking coffee. Many UK health bodies have pointed out there is absolutely no evidence to support a gateway theory.

As much as Meyerowitz-Katz attempts to fence sit, offering pseudoscience and tainted work as balance to sound science doesn’t cut it.

The report he describes as comprehensive makes the following debunked claims:

  • Vaping increases heart rate and blood pressure – not mentioning that it is fleeting
  • Vaping leads to smoking especially in teens – simply not true
  • Vaping doesn’t help people quit – wholly untrue
  • Vaping causes poisonings, burns, and nicotine toxicity – unspecified rate
  • Vaping causes EVALI – not even the CDC believe this anymore

There is strong or conclusive evidence that nicotine e-cigarettes can be harmful to health,” it concludes. “Based on the current worldwide evidence, use of nicotine e-cigarettes increases the risk of a range of adverse health outcomes.

The current evidence supports national and international efforts to avoid e-cigarette use in the general population.”

Rather than refer to the multiple Public Health England reviews, without a mention of the Cochrane reviews, Meyerowitz-Katz bases an argument on one report containing factual inaccuracies that the Australian Council on Smoking and Health used to push for a complete ban on the sale and marketing of all vape products - this is why vapers and advocates get angry on social media.

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Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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