Thursday, March 02, 2017

American Heart Association Sticks to Its Guns: "E-Cigarettes May Pose the Same or Higher Risk of Stroke" than Smoking

Earlier this week, I discussed a press release from the American Heart Association which claimed that vaping causes severe strokes and poses a higher risk of severe strokes than smoking. According to the press release: "E-cigarettes may pose the same or higher risk of stroke severity as tobacco smoke." 

In my commentary, I noted that the American Heart Association's conclusion that vaping poses an equal or higher risk of suffering a severe stroke is based on a single mouse study. In that study, which has not been published or peer reviewed, but was presented last week at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference, the investigators found that mice exposed to e-cigarette aerosol for 10 days or 30 days had more severe strokes than those exposed to tobacco smoke. To extrapolate from this single pre-clinical, animal study to population-based human health effects, as I pointed out, is ludicrous.

I sent my commentary to the American Heart Association, calling for an immediate retraction, correction, and apology for this action. I noted that if that happened, I would report it here as soon as I became aware of it.

The Rest of the Story

As a result of my notifying the American Heart Association of the mistake in its press release ...

... nothing happened.

There was no response, and the claim remains unchanged on its web site.

What am I to think? Can I continue to give the American Heart Association the benefit of the doubt and assume that this was just some sort of mistake or oversight? Hardly, when they failed to correct it after being notified of the error.

At this point, I have little choice but to consider this as a deliberate attempt to mislead and deceive the American public into believing that vaping is just as hazardous, or even more hazardous than smoking.

I have no choice but to view this as a negligent action on the part of the American Heart Association. Any reasonable health organization, after being made aware of a blatant factual error such as this one, would be expected to correct the error. It is therefore difficult not to see negligence in the AHA's apparent decision not to correct this ridiculously false claim.

I am frustrated because this is like banging my head against a brick wall. Despite pointing out factual errors, most anti-tobacco and health organizations or agencies are unwilling to, or uninterested in, correcting their misinformation. I have little choice left but to conclude that this is a deliberate campaign of deception.

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