The misinformation in the tobacco control field is so widespread that hardly a day goes by that an anti-smoking advocate somewhere doesn't publicly declare that smoking may be no more dangerous than vaping. Yesterday, it was the Sedgwick County Health Department (Wichita, KS), which wrote in an op-ed article in the Kansas City Star:
"It is not known how much nicotine or other potentially harmful
chemicals are inhaled by users, nor is it known whether e-cigarette use
may lead to use of other tobacco products. Neither are the benefits of using e-cigarettes over traditional products known."
The Rest of the Story
If a tobacco company dared to make the precise statement that this health department is making, anti-smoking groups would be dragging it into court for committing fraud against the American public. Why, then, should we treat this fraudulent statement from a public health department any differently?
It shouldn't take a rocket toxicologist to figure out that electronic cigarettes - which contain no tobacco - have immense benefits over traditional tobacco products. It shouldn't take a rocket epidemiologist to figure out that eliminating almost all of the more than 10,000 chemicals and 60+ carcinogens in cigarettes is going to result in a safer product. And anyone who has read the numerous laboratory, toxicology, and clinical studies of electronic cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes should understand that vaping is much safer than smoking.
It is so frustrating to me to wake up every day to find another anti-smoking group spreading fraudulent statements about the health effects of cigarettes. This truly undermines decades of public education about the dangers of smoking. And it helps protect the profits of cigarette companies at the expense of the protection of the public's health.
In other words, not only is this fraud, but it is doing public health damage.
Sadly, the tobacco control movement does not appear interested in holding itself to the same standards as we hold the tobacco industry.