A Kentucky health group has orchestrated a campaign to deceive the public about the terrible health hazards associated with smoking by downplaying those risks. Sadly, a recent public opinion poll commissioned by the group demonstrated that its campaign of deceit is working. Adults in Kentucky have been completely fooled about the serious health risks of smoking.
According to the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky: "Research suggests that e-cigs may be a gateway to using other forms of tobacco, and they can be just as harmful."
The Rest of the Story
There is abundant evidence that vaping is much safer than smoking. In stating that vaping is just as harmful as smoking, the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is lying to the public. Moreover, this campaign of deceit is undermining the public's appreciation of the severe health hazards associated with smoking. If smoking is no more hazardous than vaping - which doesn't involve the burning of tobacco - then it must not be as harmful as previously thought.
I can assure you that if the tobacco industry were making the same claims, we would be attacking them and taking them to court for public fraud. But the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is making precisely that claim which would have us dragging Big Tobacco into the courtroom. Why is it OK for us to lie, but not the tobacco companies?
A recent public opinion poll commissioned by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky showed how successful its campaign of deceit has been. According to this poll, 64% of Kentucky adults believe that smoking is no more hazardous than vaping. And nearly one in five (19%) actually believe that vaping is more hazardous than smoking!
Interestingly, nowhere in its report or press release does the Foundation point out that these 64% of Kentuckians are wrong in thinking that smoking is no more hazardous than vaping. If anything, the report appears to lament the fact that 29% of adults in Kentucky think that vaping is safer than smoking.
What a tremendous disservice the Foundation for a Health Kentucky is doing by misleading the people of Kentucky into thinking that smoking is no worse for your health than using a product which doesn't even contain any tobacco and doesn't involve any combustion.
It is also contrary to public health to bemoan the fact that a segment of the public has a correct understanding of relative health risks. Our goal should be to aim for 100% of the public to have a correct understanding of relative health risks, not to try to deceive the public so that they don't have correct information.
I'll be watching to see if the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky corrects this misinformation. Until that happens, they are harming the public's health by decreasing the likelihood that smokers will quit and increasing the likelihood that vapers will return to smoking.