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Ross Responds to Mercury Madness

Louise Ross, chair of the New Nicotine Alliance, has written to the Leicester Mercury regarding their misleading clickbait article (covered by Planet of the Vapes last week)

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Louise Ross, Chair of the New Nicotine Alliance, has written to the Leicester Mercury regarding their misleading clickbait article (covered by Planet of the Vapes last week). Her letter points out some key facts and the Mercury was gracious enough to print it in full.

As well as being Chair of the UK’s foremost nicotine consumer charity, Louise Ross has been working in stop smoking settings since 2004, launching the UK’s first “vape-friendly” Stop Smoking Service in Leicester. She is also a freelance clinical consultant at the National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training.

Detailed last week in Leicester Lies, the Leicester Mercury carried a very one-sided article regarding a claim that vapes cause “cellular and molecular changes that could lead to disease over time”.

Louise wrote: “Dear Editor

“Your article ‘How to talk to children about vaping’ 1/2/23 could have some unintended consequences. As a public health expert in vaping to stop smoking, I fully support the importance of Trading Standards enforcing the law on underage sales, but as the ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) report states, young people using vapes are likely to have already started smoking and are vaping to help them stop. The percentage of young never-smokers who start vaping is very small indeed. Rates of vaping may be rising, but rates of youth smoking are lower than they have ever been.

“Any message from school staff, parents or school nurses must take into consideration that intervening in too heavy-handed a way, especially if exaggerating fears about vaping, could drive young people back to smoking.

“Dr Raja states that we didn’t know years ago that smoking could cause cancers and lung damage, but science has progressed enormously since then and we have very strong evidence that vaping is significantly less harmful than smoking. NICE guidance is clear that when talking to young people we should distinguish between very harmful smoking and much safer vaping. This applies equally to adults, some of whom falsely believe that the two are equally harmful.

“Finally, we need to put ourselves in the shoes of young people; they have had a tough few years, with isolation because of COVID, disrupted schooling, family anxiety about the cost of living, and we cannot be surprised that some turn to a coping mechanism such as a vape. One young person said to me recently ‘when I vape, I don’t feel like self-harming.’

“If I had teens today, I would far rather they vape than smoke.”


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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