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Dr. Siegel blasts AHA for clinging to ‘alternative facts’ about vaping

Dr. Michael Siegel is a Professor of Health Sciences at the reputable Boston University School of Public Health, and he apparently does not take lightly the spreading of misinformation or alternative facts about vaping.  When a health reporter for the Daily Mail published an article claiming that the American Heart Association deems vaping just as deadly as smoking, Siegel took to social media and his blog almost immediately to blast the agency for its perceived incompetence.

“Scientists like myself are often frustrated by "denialists" who refuse to acknowledge global warming, disseminate false information about adverse effects of vaccines, or - historically - failed to acknowledge the severe health effects of cigarette smoking. But I never expected this denialism to be coming from within my own movement in public health.”

To be fair, the article in The Daily Mail starts out with a very alarming headline.  “E-cigarettes are as dangerous as smoking - just ONE puff could be all it takes to increase the risk of a heart attack.” The reporter than following with a first sentence that is equally as disturbing.  “Just one puff of an e-cigarette could be all it takes to increase the risk of a heart attack, new research suggests.”


The combination of these two sentences alone is enough to scare the bejeezus out of anyone reading the article.  A few lines farther down, the report gets even more frightening by stating the following. 'These data indicate that e-cigs should not be considered safe and that they induce significant deleterious effects.' 

But the most concerning line of the entire article for Dr. Seigel seems to be a quote from Dr. Aruni Bhatnagar of the AHA.   “We just don't know if moving to e-cigarettes is good enough to reduce the harm (related to smoking).”

Dr. Siegel: ‘AHA claim is not only false but it is potentially damaging’

Siegel begins his AHA-infused tirade by discussing the reams of scientific research which already exist claiming beyond any reasonable doubt that vaping is significantly less harmful than smoking.  He never makes the assertion that electronic cigarettes are 100% harm-free, nor does any other reputable scientist or health organization.  But to imply or outright lie to the general public that vaping is just as harmful as smoking is just plain wrong.

“The American Heart Association's claim is not only false, but it is potentially damaging. If smokers believe this false information, they may decide that there is no reason to quit smoking using e-cigarettes. Or, even worse, ex-smokers who quit using e-cigarettes may return to smoking. After all, if it is not clear that vaping reduces harm compared to smoking, then what's the point of vaping? You might as well enjoy the real thing.”

Later in Dr. Siegle’s blog The Rest of the Story: Tobacco News Analysis and Commentary, the vaping advocate also openly wonders if the AHA is in cahoots with Big Tobacco.  After all, why would any public health organization suggest to the American People to not even bother trying to quit smoking via vaping because e-cigs are just as deadly?  Sadly, this blogger is wondering the very same thing.


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