Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Hypocrisy Alert: Nevada Health Official Blasts Vaping Industry for Spreading Misinformation, Then Claims Vaping is Known to Cause Cancer

In an article published Sunday in the Las Vegas Sun, a health official blasted the e-cigarette companies for spreading misinformation. She is quoted as saying: "We are dealing with a (vapor industry) marketing machine that spits out misinformation."

In the article, that same health official is quoted as stating: "At the end of the day, what comes off an electronic cigarette is an aerosol that we know causes cancer."

Previously, the same health official told the public that we don't know whether e-cigarette aerosol contains fewer chemicals and carcinogens than tobacco smoke (even though tobacco smoke contains more than 10,000 chemicals and more than 60 carcinogens).

The Rest of the Story

This health official is certainly in line for a hypocrisy award. She blasts the e-cigarette companies for spreading misinformation without actually citing any examples. Then she turns around and blatantly lies to the public by claiming that e-cigarette aerosol is known to cause cancer.

There is no evidence that vaping causes cancer, and smokers who switch from smoking to vaping experience a dramatic decrease in their exposure to carcinogens.

This public statement is likely to do significant public health damage. It may well convince smokers who might otherwise have tried to quit using e-cigarettes to continue smoking instead. After all, if vaping causes cancer, then what's the point of switching? And this misguided advice may also cause many ex-smokers to return to smoking. After all, what's the point of continuing to vape if it's known to cause cancer. You might as well smoke and enjoy the real thing.

For this reason, I see this as an example of public health malpractice. It represents a negligent communication on the part of a public health official which is almost certain to cause substantial public health damage.

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