Monday, December 19, 2016

Finalists Announced for 2016 Lie of the Year Award

Today, I am announcing the finalists for the 2016 Lie of the Year Award. This award will be given to the health agency or organization which has lied most egregiously to the public about smoking and/or vaping in 2016. Feel free to cast your ballot in the comment section. Readers' votes will be taken into consideration in making the final determination. The award consists of a $100 donation to the American Vaping Association and Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association ($50 each) made in the name of the winning organization.

The 2016 finalists are:

1. American Thoracic Society

Claim: E-cigarettes are not safer than conventional cigarettes.

The Truth: E-cigarettes are much safer than conventional cigarettes.

Details: In a press release issued in April 2016, the American Thoracic Society stated as follows:

"Frank Leone, MD, chair of the ATS Tobacco Action Committee, believes the misconception that e-cigarettes are safer than traditional cigarettes is driving the trend to increased use, which puts children and other first-time users at risk for significant health problems."
 
2. University of Louisville

Claim: E-cigarettes are not safer than conventional cigarettes.

The Truth: E-cigarettes are much safer than conventional cigarettes.

Details: In a July 2016 paper published in the journal Current Cardiovascular Risk Reports, Dr. Aruni Bhatnagar of the University of Louisville concluded that:

"The dose-response relationship between smoking and cardiovascular mortality is non-linear, suggesting that reduction in HPHC concentrations in e-cigarette aerosols may not result in proportional harm reduction and decreased HPHC exposure may be offset by increased use by individuals who believe that e-cigarettes are safer than conventional cigarettes. Thus, taken together, current evidence does not entirely support the notion that e-cigarettes are reduced harm products... ."

3. Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital

Claim: Vaping is just as dangerous as smoking.

The Truth: Vaping is much safer than smoking.

Details: In an August 2016 web site article, Dr. Rachel Dawkins of the Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital was quoted as stating:

"Most importantly, parents should talk to their children about the dangers and harmful side effects of e-cigarettes and others drugs. Parents should also consider vaping just as dangerous as smoking cigarettes when talking to their teens about the dangers of tobacco use and smoking."

4. Arizona Department of Health Services

Claim: Vaping is as dangerous as smoking.

The Truth: Vaping is much safer than smoking.

Details: On its web site in October 2016, the director of the Arizona Department of Health Services stated:

"We did research this year with several youth focus groups around the state and found there is a misconception that using a vape pen is not as dangerous as a regular cigarette. The truth is there are many of the same dangerous chemicals in a vape pen that are in a cigarette, including nicotine which is a highly addictive chemical." 


5. Surgeon General of the United States

Claim: Vaping is a form of tobacco use.

The Truth: Vaping is not a form of tobacco use. Electronic cigarettes do not contain any tobacco.

Details: In his 2016 report, the Surgeon General stated:

"These products [e-cigarettes] are now the most commonly used form of tobacco among youth in the United States, surpassing conventional tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, and hookahs." 

6. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Claim: Tobacco companies are marketing gummy bear and cotton candy e-cigarettes.

The Truth: None of the tobacco companies markets gummy bear or cotton candy e-cigarettes.
 
Details: In a solicitation for donations, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids stated:

"These are just a few of the [tobacco] industry's latest tricks: ... Using slick ads, celebrity spokespeople, and sweet flavors like gummy bear and cotton candy to push e-cigarettes."

7. Alaska Department of Health and Human Services

Claim: Using e-cigarettes is riskier than smoking.

The Truth: Vaping is much safer than smoking.

Details: According to a KTUU News article in January 2016, Dr. Jay Butler - the state's chief medical officer - stated: 

"We do see more kids using e-cigarettes now than smoking, so e-cigarettes right now are the neatest, shiniest thing and they're kind of cool so in that sense they do provide a riskier alternative to cigarettes."

8. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Claim: There was no decline in youth tobacco use between 2011 and 2015.

The Truth: There was a substantial decline in youth tobacco use between 2011 and 2015. Vaping is not a form of tobacco use, so it should not be included in the figure reported by CDC.

Details: In April 2016, the CDC issued a press release stating that there was: 

"No decline in overall youth tobacco use since 2011."

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