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Vape Article Journo In A Pickle

An article about vaping in the Daily Mail was so bad that it landed the journalist in a bit of a pickle with harm reduction advocates.

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Vapers are used to seeing nonsense written about something they know has benefited their health, and harm reduction advocates are accustomed to witnessing science being distorted – but sometimes the coverage goes overboard and is nothing more than a hysterical mess. Step forward Kate Pickles and the Daily Mail.

“E-cigarette timebomb,” screamed the headline. “Vaping is highly addictive and could cause a major health crisis in decades to come, warn lung experts,” wrote the journalist. Worryingly, Pickles is the Mail’s ‘health reporter’!

In an article that showed all the signs of having been bashed out in two minute from a press release, with an afterthought of throwing in so-called balancing quotes at the end, Pickles created one of the worst pieces of writing ever written on the subject of harm reduction and vaping.

“Lung experts say there's growing evidence to show E-cigarettes are dangerous.” Then she copy-pasted the bit that said: “E-cigarettes could spark a major health crisis in decades to come, world-leading experts warn today. They say there is growing evidence that using e-cigarettes – commonly known as 'vaping' – damages health and is highly addictive.”

Without a single piece of evidence cited, or a question raised by the complicit Pickles, she then typed: “vaping is a 'one-way bridge' to smoking tobacco for people lured in by the attractive flavours of e-cigarettes.”

Then: “E-Cigarettes could be just as dangerous as cigarettes and could lead people to smoking.”

It was all over the Forum of International Respiratory Societies releasing their position statement, where they called for:

  • Vaping to be reclassified as ‘tobacco products’
  • Sales should be banned to adolescents AND young adults
  • All advertising and promotion should be banned
  • All flavours should be banned
  • Vaping should be banned from parks and anywhere youths are present
  • Vaping is dangerous and more research needs to say so
  • And, vaping should be monitored so…who knows? Job creation probably.

Pickles trotted out as fact their claim that “studies” linked vaping “to cancer, heart disease and lung conditions.”  Oh, and “there are also fears over the synthetic flavourings.”

Tom Ferkol quoted himself in the press release for Pickles to reprint: “With all the flavourings, such as strawberries and cream, you can easily see why children are attracted to them. And when you look at the advertising on some products, it doesn't look like it's targeted at a 55-year-old gentleman from Liverpool to help him quit.”

With rising numbers of smokers being afraid to switch to vaping because of perceived dangers, Pickles has contributed to cementing and increasing them. For a health reporter to not appreciate the issue of tobacco harm reduction in depth is woefully unacceptable. Her article is amateurish, foolish and irresponsible.

Pickles was approached for comment but refused to respond.

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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