Vaping News

Clouding The Vape Message

A health assessment found uncertainty about ecigs, the Mayo clinic shows how it comes about.

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Ireland’s Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) recently published an assessment paper looking at smoking cessation interventions, of which vaping forms a part. While the assessment was largely positive, HIQA commented that there is a level of uncertainty surrounding electronic cigarettes. With its current statement on e-Cigs, the Mayo Clinic exemplifies how such confusion arises.

Vape Business Ireland, an alliance committed to promoting an open debate about vaping products in Ireland, welcomed HIQA’s position but called on “HIQA and the Department of Health to clarify what research they believe is required and to undertake that research, in order to provide essential information to those using vaping products as an alternative to smoking.”

It noted: “the UK’s quit smoking services provide consumers with information and support on using vaping products as an alternative to smoking. Spokesperson for VBI, Keith Flynn commented ‘The Department of Health’s own research, Healthy Ireland Survey 2016, found that of those who successfully quit smoking, 32% use vaping to do so’.”

Despite the intransigence of the Government of Ireland and the Health Department to get behind the vaping boom, ecigs have been having an impact. There are up to an estimated 150,000 vapers in the country and pregnancy-smoking rates have dropped to a record 25-year low.

Despite the name, the Mayo Clinic is not based in Ireland, but (with a lack of information from home) Irish medical practitioners and quit services can be influenced by its statements.

“Electronic cigarettes: Not a safe way to light up,” their website says. “Studies to test whether e-cigarettes can help people stop using tobacco have had inconsistent results. At best, e-cigarettes are no more effective than nicotine replacement medications in helping people quit.”

Harm reductionist Clive Bates is exasperated: “Get a grip… Once again the Mayo Clinic indulges in unethical and misleading risk communications in the form of a new article on e-cigarettes, promoting fear and confusion and dissuading smokers from trying them.”

Bates highlights that the clinic focuses on the unprovable: “Are e-cigarettes safe? [It is] an unethical non sequitur. There’s no scientific evidence that using e-cigarettes is safe, nor can there ever be. There is, however, a large body of evidence that they are much safer. There is no scientific evidence that eating bananas is safe.”

We hope that HIQA take on board the comments made by Vape Business Ireland and all of the other interested parties. We hope that the smokers of Ireland are given clear and honest information upon which to make their decision to switch, and that health service personal can be educated, rather than being drip fed the lies from across the Atlantic.

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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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