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Conflicting Vape Views

Fears espoused by some are described as overblown guff by others.

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People claiming that vaping is safer than smoking are only doing so as part of an onslaught of marketing efforts, according to a nonsensical piece in the Addiction Now online portal. “It’s time to stop vilifying vaping,” retorts a Canadian health journalist, bored with the lies and misinformation.

“Addiction Now is your online resource for anything and everything related to substance abuse, addiction, and recovery,” claims Addiction Now. “Addiction Now is always committed to providing useful and accurate information. 

At a time when so much knowledge is readily accessible through the internet, it can be more difficult than ever to find a reliable and dependable source.”

Addiction Now is a trustworthy source of information, in a post-truth world kind of way. “Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs, have become popular in recent years largely because they’re seen as a safer alternative to tobacco-based products,” it says. “But the perception of e-cigs is changing, despite the onslaught of marketing efforts to peg e-cigs as safer.”

Addiction Now does not explain how Public Health England, the Cochrane Review or the Royal College of Physicians factors into this onslaught of marketing.

Then, the reliable and dependable source cites the co-researcher spouting absolute guff: “If you were just using unflavored e-cigarettes, like some of those produced by the major tobacco companies, there might be some harm reduction. Many people are buying e-cigarettes, then buying the liquid cartridges that are flavored with all manner of chemicals. It’s not clear what those chemicals carry with them in terms of potential harm.”

By the time you are reading, “a unique harm associated with e-cigarettes is an effect called ‘popcorn lung’,” it is clear that this site is not remotely interested in reporting the truth, facts or reading beyond a press release. There has not been a single documented and verified case of vape-related bronchiolitis obliterans.

“It’s time to stop vilifying vaping,” writes André Picard for the Globe and Mail – and he’s not alone in this opinion.

Picard quotes Tim Stockwell, director of the Centre for Addiction Research: “The public has been misled about the risks of e-cigarettes. Many people think they are as dangerous as smoking tobacco, but the evidence shows this is completely false.” Stockwell worked on the paper debunking the notion of a gateway effect that we covered recently.

In welcoming a shift from teens experimenting with smoking to them doing it with vape, Picard points out that fears over vaping should be placed in the context of harm reduction: there’s no tar, there’s no carbon monoxide and just a fraction of the toxins of cigarette smoking.

“What is indisputable is that quitting smoking is hard, and for those who try, vaping is no less effective than other methods; also, when people vape, they smoke less, even if they don’t manage to quit altogether - In other words, harm is reduced.”

Addiction Now can dig up all the dirt they can muster, but it won’t overcome the simple truth espoused by Picard: “Smoking is deadly. Vaping is almost certainly not.”

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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