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American Lung Association accused of ‘lying’ about vaping on public radio

When a spokesperson for the Wisconsin chapter of the American Lung Association (ALA) took to public radio to accuse vaping of being just as harmful as smoking, at least one public health expert was immediately outraged.  Dr. Michael Seigel is a Boston University Professor of Community Health Sciences with decades of experience in tobacco harm reduction.  And he is essentially accusing the ALA spokesperson, Dona Wininsky, of outright lying to general public about e-cigs. 

During the radio interview, Wininsky was discussing recent statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which indicate a sharp drop in teen smoking rates nationwide.  However, Wisconsin smoking rates are heading in the opposite direction, and Wininsky took the opportunity to blame vaping (rather than the ALA) for this negative trend. 

"I think there’s still a perception that e-cigarettes are less harmful than regular cigarettes and so for some kids who never would have tried smoking cigarettes they get the idea this might be a safer alternative."

When Seigel saw the Wininsky statement, he took to his weekly blog to call out the ALA spokesperson.  The pro-vaping professor also mentions the reams of scientific research currently in existence that prove beyond a reasonable doubt that vaping is 95 percent less harmful than smoking.  Siegel even manages to praise the somewhat controversial Dr. Stan Glantz for having the courage to stand up to vaping haters like the ALA.

“Clearly, the ALA is telling the public that kids are actually mistaken and that e-cigarettes are no less harmful than regular cigarettes. Of course, this also means that cigarettes are no more dangerous than e-cigarettes.”
“The truth is that e-cigarettes are much safer than regular cigarettes. Dr. Stan Glantz - a highly respected, long-time scientist in the anti-tobacco movement - has stated unequivocally that e-cigarettes are safer than regular cigarettes and that if a smoker switches to e-cigarettes exclusively, they will experience an improvement in their health.”

Dr. Seigel is very careful to avoid the appearance of actively promoting vaping to teens.  But he does openly question why the ALA is “lying to our nation’s youth?”  Meanwhile, he also quotes another vaping advocate who responded to the Wininsky statement by calling it “pretty bizarre.”


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