Vaping News

Ecigs in The Sun

Trumpeting its desire to deliver the truth about vaping, The Sun offers more confusion and mixed messages.

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There has been little by way of public coverage of electronic cigarettes on The Sun’s website when compared to its rivals. While the Mirror and Mail luxuriated in scare stories, the nation’s leading tabloid remained locked behind a failing firewall. It is clear that, now access has been opened, its owners see ecigs as a way to drive readers to their pages.

Two articles in the space of one week illustrate how they intend to proceed; one claiming to be a balanced analysis (but failing) while the other a salacious coverage of an accident due to ignorance.

First, the paper tells us of a teaching assistant’s “horror” after an electronic cigarette “EXPLODES”, using nice block caps, and destroys her car. Lindsey Dean will, apparently, never use an electronic cigarette again. It is, she claims, the device’s fault that it wrote off her £1,500 Polo despite the fact that she left the ecig in it, charging unsupervised and using an inappropriate charging unit.

Seasoned vapers, take in a deep breath and imagine pictures of bunnies playing in fields when you read her say: “When I told the cigarette company they said it's not their fault because the USB adapter which I bought from another store was to blame. They also said I shouldn't charge it unattended. I think that's ridiculous. How am I meant to stay there watching over it whenever it's on charge and there's nothing wrong with the adapter, I've charged my phone on it hundreds of time.”

The article quotes the company replying to her comments to give the appearance of balance – but fails to offer constructive comment to other users. By the end it leaves readers with the impression that it’s one word against the other.

As The Sun fails to point this out, for the benefit of new vapers:

·      Car phone chargers do not necessarily charge electronic cigarettes safely, you must use the one supplied with your kit or refer to the store for further advice.

·      Never leave something charging unattended.

And The Sun speaks “to e-cigarette users to find out whether they help you quit or are a pathway to addiction.”

Shahid Khan claims he was a non-smoker and began vaping because it seemed “cool”. He goes on to tell us that “smoking e-cigs” caused him to “get blood in my mouth”. Consequently, he claims, Khan switched to smoking cigarettes.

 For the benefit of new vapers:

·      There is no smoke produced by an electronic cigarette, it is vapour that contains none of the tar and almost none of the carcinogens found when tobacco burns.

·      There are no other reported cases of vaping making blood appear in the mouth, nor any indication why this should be the case. It is highly likely that Khan had an issue with his mouth unrelated to vaping that caused this event.

In an attempt to appear a reasonable and balanced piece, we then meet Jo and Paul. The happy couple switched to vaping from cigarettes and celebrate the improvements to their health (and the financial savings) vaping has made to their lives. But then Angela enters the fray.

Angela Garvin recounts her tale of vaping because it seemed “cool” before progressing onto smoking cigarettes. “I’ll probably only give up [smoking] if something shocks me,” she tells the readership, “such as a health scare.”

For the benefit of new vapers:

·      Switching from smoking to vaping does lead to healthier lungs, it has been documented time and time again.

·      Once you find something that works for you, the cost savings of vaping over smoking are huge.

·      Only an utter idiot would take up vaping if they were a non-smoker because it seems “cool”.

·      If you aren’t aware of the health scare surrounding smoking, like Angela: it causes lung cancer.

Khan and Garvin constitute two thirds of the features interviewees and both bear witness to a claimed gateway from vaping to smoking. It is laughable nonsense if the journalist had bothered to look at the data depicting falling smoking rates against rising vaping figures. Professor Robert West’s research demonstrates that an insignificant percentage of English vapers began as non-smokers.

The Sun’s mission was never to provide a balanced coverage of the issues involved with vaping (evident by them asking Martin McKee for comment). They have witnessed the success similar coverage has had for their rivals and are seeking to replicate it by driving vapers to their pages in order to raise hit rates.

It’s a shameful and disingenuous piece of work. If you are seeking a more balanced opinion about vaping then why not register on our forum and ask the members.

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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