Vaping News

A New Low

Australian pair dish out lies by the bucketload, striking a new low in the debate surrounding vaping and tobacco harm reduction

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Dr Sukhwinder Singh Sohal and Dr Kathryn Barnsley ply their trade at the School of Health Sciences at the University of Tasmania, Australia. Interviewed for The Examiner newspaper, the pair trot out a series of outright lies that has been described as sinking to a “new low of misinformation about vaping”.

The article begins by making the claim that vape advocates are calling for a completely unregulated vape market in Australia. It doesn’t quote any of them because they don’t exist – no organisation or individuals have ever made such a demand.

Given the complete fabrication at the outset, it is no surprise that the authors report Sohal and Barnsley saying, “it is almost certainly the industry itself which is fuelling the black market” – accusing the vape industry of “organised corporate criminality”.

Further claims:

  • The vape industry targets children
  • The vape industry targets low- and middle-income countries
  • Vaping causes head, neck and oral cancers
  • Vaping causes cardiovascular disease and strokes
  • Vaping causes paediatric injury
  • Vaping makes COVID-19 respiratory symptoms worse
  • The evidence on successful quitting using e-cigarettes is very thin
  • That doctors who believe in ecigs are “quacks who have been bought by industry

Doctors Singh Sohal and Barnsley conclude: “We do not believe that substantial evidence exists for electronic cigarettes to be used as a tool for smoking cessation. The risks of electronic cigarettes are far too great for them to be deemed safe to be prescribed by medical professionals.”

Dr Colin Mendelsohn, an expert in vaping, smoking cessation, and tobacco harm reduction, was understandably angry. He wrote to The Examiner to demand they corrected the litany of errors – the newspaper failed to respond.

Sohal and Barnsley greatly exaggerate the risks of vaping nicotine. All credible experts agree that vaping is a far safer alternative to smokers who are unable to quit and any risk must be compared to the harm from continuing to smoke. The assertion that ‘e-cigarettes will likely cause head, neck and oral cancers, cardiovascular disease and strokes’ is totally without evidence,” he said.

The risk of cancer from vaping has been estimated to be less than 0.5% of the risk from smoking. There is no convincing evidence that vaping causes cardiovascular disease or stroke. In fact, studies have shown that when smokers switch to vaping their cardiovascular health and blood pressure improve.”

He pointed out a recent analysis of 171 trials of all smoking cessation by the UK National Institute for Health Research found that vaping was the single most effective of all smoking cessation medications. Evidence from randomised controlled trials is supported by observational studies, population studies and the rapid decline in smoking rates where vaping rates are high.


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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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