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Ronseal no longer use the phrase, but does vaping do what it says on the tin?

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Ecigs were invented as a way of helping smokers to cease using tobacco products. Both sides of the electronic cigarette debate frequently use the word ‘efficacy’; does vaping help in quit attempts and does it deliver nicotine in a safer way than traditional cigarette smoke? Recent media coverage has been far from helpful in offering any clarification.

HealthlineNews purported to cover the issue by asking if “Switching to E-Cigarettes makes your body healthier?” Fortunately for readers they didn’t have to read far before reaching their conclusion: “The short answer is medical researchers aren’t sure.” But then medical researchers are not all going to agree given that some are funded by pharmaceutical companies, tobacco firms and politicians keen to obtain the answer ‘no’. What HealthlineNews should have written is “we aren’t sure because we didn’t bother researching”. The tone of the message they try to convey is ‘whom do you trust?’

On one hand they present the “scientific editor of the 2014 Surgeon General Report” stating: “We just don’t have the data.” To balance the argument they neglected to phone any unbiased harm reduction specialists and settled for Derrick Gurley, a bloke who’s Dad quit smoking and took up vaping after a heart attack.

Laden with irony, they quote a professor saying: “There is some poor science,” before continuing the article by citing the risible research carried out by the teams from Rochester and Liverpool John Moores. At least there is pretence at balance in the piece.

The Daily Mail’s Jenny Hope didn’t need to bother giving an impression of balance. Her headline for This Is Money screamed: “E-cigarettes make quitting smoking HARDER.”

The subheading rubber-stamped the title’s assertion as it listed off the incredible findings that using ecigs made smokers 49 per cent less likely to decrease and 59 per cent less likely to quit smoking!  Linda Bauld from the University of Stirling slammed the survey for not being designed to answer its sole question while Queen Mary’s Peter Hajek simple added: “The survey provides little useful information.”

Adding quotes as an afterthought to an article doesn’t give the piece balance, it is a fop in order to give the writing a sense of fairness where there isn’t any. A true reflection of the work is when you contrast it to the repeated results from the likes of Professor Robert West (in his annual studies) and the work of Jean François Etter.

Etter produced the first paper on the subject of ecig efficacy and considered them to be satisfactory. West’s work has continually demonstrated the success of vaping as a method of replacing smoking with a less harmful proposition. His latest research, released in November 2014 through the Office of National Statistics, drew the American Council on Science and Health to write: “New survey data from the UK confirm e-cig efficacy for smokers trying to quit.” This isn’t West’s opinion; this is indisputable fact coming from repeated, consistent, peer-reviewed studies.

HealthlineNews may not like to say it, it may not fit in with the Daily Mail’s agenda, but vaping’s efficacy is proven. Electronic cigarettes increase the chances of smoking quit attempts over any other method and offer an alternative to smoking that is of orders of magnitude safer.

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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