Michael Siegel has featured on this site many times; he has been a huge advocate for vaping and the harm reduction potential it offers. The professor used to be mentored by Stanton Glantz, but the two have been locked in verbal sparring for over a couple of years due to their diametrically opposed opinions on ecigs.
The American Heart Association (AHA) set the ball rolling with the issuing of a press release, within which they made that fantastical claim that “E-cigarettes may pose the same or higher risk of stroke severity as tobacco smoke”.
The AHA has been opposed to vaping from the beginning; they are one of those organisations who will never care what or how much evidence is presented to them. Some accuse the AHA of being tied too closely to the pharmaceutical industry – and it is easy to see why when it writes “From a brain health perspective, researchers said, electronic-cigarette vaping is not safer than tobacco smoking, and may pose a similar, if not higher risk for stroke severity. Use of e-cigarettes is a growing health concern in both smoking and nonsmoking populations.”
Siegel struck back: “To extrapolate from this single pre-clinical, animal study to population-based human health effects is ludicrous. There are many reasons why stroke-related findings from rodent studies do not translate well to humans.”
He goes on to accuse the AHA of having a “blatant disregard for the truth”, which he considers to be “not only unscientific but it is also damaging to public health.”
Then Vivek Murthy, America’s Surgeon General, responsible for taking the lead on all medical matters for the nation, published a further opinion about e-cigarette use. In his piece, titled E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults - A Major Public Health Concern, Murthy states: “[E-cigs] are now the most commonly used form of tobacco among youth in the United States, surpassing cigarettes, chewing tobacco, cigars, and hookah.”
Murthy continually refers to vaping as a form of tobacco use and vape devices/liquids as a form of tobacco, which has caused Siegel to reach for the keyboard again and pen “Surgeon General Continues to Lie about Tobacco in E-Cigarettes.”
Highlighting the obvious, the professor points out: “There is no tobacco in electronic cigarettes. Using e-cigarettes, even if they contain nicotine, is not a form of tobacco use. You are not using tobacco if you vape because the e-liquids do not contain tobacco. In fact, the entire point of vaping is that it represents a tobacco-free and smoke-free method of inhaling nicotine.”
Will the AHA and the Surgeon General alter their approach in light of being shown up for the liars they are? Highly unlikely, but we live in hope.