Amid COVID-19 pandemic, CDC’s prior claims of vaping ‘epidemic’ even more suspect
Until recently, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was spending enormous amounts of time and taxpayer dollars warning of the impending doom of a teen vaping “epidemic.” For over two years, CDC officials made ominous claims that vaping teenagers would eventually become addicted to smoking. The science proved otherwise, and yet they continued to spread this disinformation.
Then came the mysterious outbreak of “vaping related” lung injuries during the autumn and winter of 2019-2020. Again, the CDC spend months vilifying the nicotine-based vapor industry even though the science had already identified the true culprit – black market THC-enhanced cartridges laced with vitamin E acetate.
Vaping is not an infectious disease.
The first concern – teen vaping as an “epidemic” – has nothing whatsoever to do with infectious disease which is the CDC’s sole responsibility (as is clearly reflected in the agency’s nomenclature). The second concern – the mysterious lung disorders which the CDC would eventually nickname EVALI (e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury) does involve a medical condition, but it is not a contagious disease caused by a virus or other microorganism. Should the CDC have been involved in either of these “vaping related” issues?
Related Article: Renowned epidemiologist debunks FDA claims of teen vaping ‘epidemic’
Some public health experts are beginning to wonder. Why was the CDC spending so much time and effort demonizing the American vapor industry when epidemiologists had been warning of a global COVID-19 pandemic since at least December 2019? Michelle Minton of the Competitive Enterprise Institute told Sentinel and Enterprise that it’s not uncommon for government agencies to exploit public health crises for financial and political gain.
As unfortunate as this sounds, Minton contends that the heads of these agencies are in direct competition with one another for the limited, congressionally-approved funds which are initially assigned by the president, either democrat or republican. As such, they are desperate to “score political points” at almost any cost.
“The core purpose of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is to control and prevent the spread of infectious disease. But a close look at how CDC spends its budget reveals it has strayed from this mission of protecting Americans from communicable diseases, turning more toward influencing people’s lifestyle choices…
“Novel as COVID-19 is, there’s nothing new about exploiting a crisis to expand budgets and score political points. Similar claims of inadequate funding were made during the 2014 outbreak of Ebola, for which various health agencies got an additional $5.4 billion.”
Meanwhile, Jacob Sullum of Reason Magazine is also questioning the CDC’s priorities before and after the coronavirus outbreak in the United States. In a March 16 article, Sulllum says that the agency’s “scaremongering tactics” surrounding teen vaping may have forever damaged its credibility involving its COVID-19 response. As America’s medical community screams for more masks and personal protective equipment (PPE), average citizens are now beginning to notice that the CDC seems to have been completely unprepared for the virus – even though it was first identified in China several months ago.
“We have to hope that the CDC's COVID-19 recommendations are more scientifically grounded than its initial scaremongering about e-cigarettes. I assume they are. But when public health agencies stray beyond their central mission and allow moral panics to affect their advice, they undermine the public trust that is vital at a time like this.”
Minton and Sullen stress that the conversation surrounding the competences or inadequacies of the CDC’s coronavirus or EVALI responses is not a political issue. Regardless of republican or democratic administrations, politicians, bureaucrats, and academics are always debating public health issues and fighting for government money. Minton specifically states that “The failure is not of any single administration, agency or Congress. The blame rests with all of them.”
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