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Huff Po prints retraction for bogus Margaret Cuomo video on e-cigs

Posted by Matt Rowland on

The Huffington Post is being bombarded with harsh criticism yet again for publishing another story that seems to be completely fabricated out of pure, thin air.  This time, the brouhaha is over a Margaret Cuomo video posted on March 14, 2016.  The video contains so many factual inaccuracies that scientists around the world felt an obligation to respond almost immediately with more precise information.  And Huff Po is left with egg on their face.

(Courtesy of  The Huffington Post)

Cuomo, who is the sister of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, is a long-time advocate for cancer prevention and regularly appears on television new shows discussing her primary objective of achieving A World Without Cancer, also the title of her recently published book on the subject.  In an instant, she may have entirely obliterated her credibility in this field by releasing a video that suggests e-cigs and vaping devices are just as harmful as tobacco products.

The Margaret Cuomo video Controversy

Vapes.com first blasted Huff Po in a March 16 blog entry entitled, The Huffington Post and Margaret Cuomo falsify e-cig dataAnd many scientists, physicians, and journalists around the world also joined in the controversy by flooding social media with expressions of contempt for not only the Margaret Cuomo video but towards the Huffington Post for once again failing to manage their writing and editorial staff properly.  In a Forbes Magazine article, journalist Jacob Sullum offered his own harsh reaction to the controversy,

“Like most professional pundits, Margaret Cuomo has perfected the art of speaking authoritatively even when she does not know what she is talking about. “

Sullum also helps to educate the general public by stating that e-cigs do not contain tobacco of any kind whatsoever.  So the Cuomo assertions that e-cig vapor contains the same deadly combination of over 7,000 chemicals as tobacco products is utter nonsense.  Among the many points of misinformation that the Margaret Cuomo video discusses, the pro-vaping community is primarily focusing on three of the most outlandish:

  • E-cigs and vaping devices are “just as harmful” as traditional tobacco cigarettes.
  • E-cigs and vaping devices “will raise your risk for lung cancer but also other cancers, like liver cancer.”
  • The vapor from e-cigs and vaping devices has also been known to contain “formaldehyde, benzene, propylene glycol, and metals like cadmium, nickel, and tin.”

Once Boston University’s Michael Sigel saw the Margaret Cuomo video, he quickly took to the Internet and any media outlet that would listen.  He made clear in a series of interviews that “there is absolutely no evidence” to support Cuomo’s claims.  Sigel is even disputing the commonly quoted statistic from a 2015 study by Public Health England that claims vaping is 95% safer than smoking.  In an interview with The San Diego Union-Tribune, Sigel thinks 5% is “way too high.”

By March 17, the once highly-regarded news blog was forced to print a retraction and re-edit the video.   Conveniently, the three main points of contention are now creatively deleted from the newer version.  But there is still no sign of an apology from either Cuomo or Huff Po for intentionally trying to mislead the public.


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