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False News Alert: U.S. Surgeon General says e-cigs contain ‘volatile organic compounds’

Only in American would the nation’s leading medical professional issue a false news statement that seemingly indicates smoking is better and healthier than vaping. 

On the website for the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy posted a short message today about the possible dangers of e-cigarette use by young people.  He then followed up with a press conference to further illustrate his point.

According to Murthy, teens should avoid e-cigs and vaping because the included e-liquids can contain some very dangerous substances, including:

  • Heavy metals, such as lead, tin, and nickel: This is a completely ridiculous claim.  In fact, the U.S. government has known for decades that conventional tobacco cigarettes contain heavy metals like lead and cadmium.  But the Surgeon General’s website fails to mention this seemly forgotten fact.
  • Diacetyl, a flavoring linked to respiratory disease. The e-liquid industry has known about Diacetyl for almost three years now and has self-regulated this ingredient to near extinction.  Any supplier caught still using diacetyl in their e-liquid will be run out of the vaping industry on a rail.
  • “Volatile organic compounds:” Can the Surgeon General be anymore misleading? This is a super-generic term that could mean just about anything and sounds simply frightening, not only to teens but to diehard vapers in their forties and fifties. 
  • And “ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs:” Who knows what Murthy is referring to here. It’s just another devious attempt to use scary language that means absolutely nothing as a way to brainwash American teens against e-cigs. Of course, Murthy never mentions the thousands of documented toxins, chemicals, and “ultrafine particles” found in conventional cigarettes, all of which can be identified by name.

The website goes on to make other outrageous claims while sporadically throwing up several images of clean-cut, blemish-free teenagers with perfect haircuts from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. And by the way, none of them are smiling.


Each child looks either absolutely petrified or downright pissed off. But the most frightening claim posted on the Surgeon General’s website is the following:

“E-cigarettes are very popular with young people. Their use has grown dramatically in the last five years. Today, more high school students use e-cigarettes than regular cigarettes. The use of e-cigarettes is higher among high school students than adults."

Notice that middle sentence. Is the Surgeon General of the United States actually saying that he prefers smoking to vaping?  Image a teenager reading that sentence.  Translation:  OMG!  If you’re going to put something in your mouth, make it the real thing, for Pete’s sake.  Vaping is so uncool(Pardon the feeble attempt to speak “teen.”  It’s been a while).

Why is the Surgeon General spreading false news?

Strangely, this flurry of activity by America’s Top Doc comes just days after Julian Castro, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), made his own ruling about vaping in public housing.  Issuing a new HUD regulation that bans smoking in public housing, Secretary Castro took special care to exclude vaping and e-cigs from the ban. 


Both Castro and Murthy agree that there is not enough evidence at this time to know for certain just how harmful e-cigs truly are.  But HUD Secretary Castro is choosing to wait for more information before making potentially false accusations against an entire industry that many scientists already firmly believe is 95 percent safer than Big Tobacco.  In fact, Castro even mentions this fact very eloquently in his HUD announcement. 

The Surgeon General, on the other hand, takes the opposite approach.  In one section of his blog post, Dr. Vivek Murthy claims that e-liquids can contain everything from tin to “ultrafine particles” of some seemingly unknown toxic substance that is even unidentifiable to the highest ranking medical physician in the country, Murthy himself.  On the other hand, Murthy states in his press conferences that more research is needed.

So, which is it, Dr. Murthy?  And why write blog posts that are clearly utilizing false news tactics?  Perhaps because in about 42 days, Murthy will be looking for a new job.

The entire blog post by the U.S. Surgeon General can be located online.


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