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Heartless Heart Association

As the American Heart Association’s conference approaches, the organisation releases a media briefing from an unpublished study claiming a third of all vapers suffer from EVALI

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The American Heart Association (AHA) has a long history of coming out with nonsense classified as “stupid” to “downright dangerous” by tobacco harm reduction experts. It is now promoting another piece of duff non-peer-reviewed research in the lead up to its online Scientific Sessions 2020 eConference next weekend. The author, Thanh-Huyen T. Vu claims a third of all vapers currently suffer from the EVALI disease (proven to be caused by Vitamin E Acetate in a small American batch of illegal THC liquids).

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities,” it says. Many would beg to differ.

The AHA’s journal is home to some of the worst studies conducted into vaping. Time and again, pseudoscience masquerades as legitimate inquiry to produce shocking findings.

The best-known incident recently was when Stanton Glantz and Dharma Bhatta discovered that vaping was so dangerous it caused people to have heart attacks up to ten years before they first picked up an electronic device.

The AHA published the study despite the glaringly obvious flaws. Then, following an outcry from scientists who immediately identified it as unworthy of publication and demanded its retraction, the AHA did nothing.

At the time, Brad Rodu said the editors of the Journal, “have refused to correct demonstrably false research results published in the June issue.” Worse, “the journal editors never responded to me in a substantive manner. In October, the journal sent me an unresponsive letter about COPE guidelines. The letter was unsigned, a discourtesy suggesting that the editors found our objections unworthy of consideration.

Professor Michael Siegel commented that the American Heart Association was demonstrating a “blatant disregard for the truth”, which was “not only unscientific but it is also damaging to public health.”

Finally, a year later, the editors were forced into retracting the shameful piece of junk [link].

The latest guff involved Vu’s team looking for “vaping-associated lung injury” in 2016 survey data. This included: cough, shortness of breath, nausea, stomach pain and chest pain.

There is no mention that they considered other causes for these ailments. It is impossible to associate any self-reported incident of those with vaping – but Vu has given it a shot. Her team claims:

  • More than half (55%) of respondents had one or more of the symptoms
  • One third (33%) reported having one or more EVALI)-like symptoms; cough and nausea were the most common

It should be noted that symptoms were more prevalent in “current cigarette smokers or current users of other tobacco products”. It’s another feeble attempt to muddy the waters because of what they believe in - not what science actually shows.

The AHA (and Thanh-Huyen T. Vu) should look to the position taken by the British Heart Foundation. In its most recent “Is vaping safe?” update [link], it said:

  • E-cigarettes mimic the action of smoking but without the toxic effect of tobacco smoke harmful emissions in vapour are at a much lower level than in conventional cigarettes
  • Within just one month of switching tobacco for electronic cigarettes, measures of blood vessel health, including blood pressure and stiffness of their arteries, had started to improve
  • Nicotine, while highly addictive, is not a significant health hazard for people without heart conditions
  • Nicotine is not carcinoge


  • Lung symptoms common among users of e-cigarettes and related products, AHA – [link]
  • American Heart Association on vaping – [link]

Photo Credit:

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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