Fox News airs grotesque anti-vaping video during FDA’s Scott Gottlieb interview

As a lead-in to an interview with FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, Fox News runs an excerpt of a newly released anti-vaping advertisement funded by the government agency and running on social media.  As the video begins, the viewer hears sinister music playing in the background, much like the music that plays during a Halloween horror movie just before the next cast member unwitting becomes the gruesome killer’s next victim.

Meanwhile, the camera is slowly zooming in to the image of what appears to be a young girl doing her homework.  It is only after the camera zooms in close enough that we finally discover the teenager’s face is grotesquely disfigured by a medical condition that results in vein-like protrusions of significant size from the student’s face.

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The FDA-funded video then flashes a series of additional equally-disturbing images of teens or young adults suffering from similar mutilations.  Meanwhile, the viewer of the TV commercial hears the low-throated, eerily foreboding, monotone voice-over of the documentarian stating several mistruths about teen vaping, smoking, and nicotine.

“There’s an epidemic spreading.  Scientists ay that it can change your brain. It can release dangerous chemicals like formaldehyde into your bloodstream.  It’s not a parasite. It’s not a virus.  It’s not an infection.  It’s vaping.“

No mention of the strange medical disorder displayed in the video excerpt is ever discussed during the proceeding Fox News interview by anchor Ainsley Earhardt, but the message is clearly and strongly implied.  Vaping is the supposed reason why these youngsters are suffering from such horribly disfiguring ailments. Vaping is even more dangerous than “parasites,” a “virus,” or an “infection.”  Vaping – not smoking – is deadly.

Vaping versus smoking: Fox News asks Gottlieb the obvious question

Producers of television commercials often employ creative marketing strategies to entice the viewer into buying their client’s products and services.  From automobile companies to cellular phone conglomerates, businesses often highlight the product’s positive aspects in their TV ads while ignoring or deceptively masking the product’s negatives.

Marketing creativity aside, these privately-produced television commercials must always be truthful.  It is illegal to make false claims about the product or service.  Otherwise, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and other federal agencies may come calling.   For example, it would be illegal for the Nissan company to make claims that their automobiles can also fly like an airplane.  This would be considered false advertising, and therefore, illegal.

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But what if the producer of the television campaign is another federal agency of the U.S. government other than the FCC.  Do the same rules apply?    Apparently not.  This is the Trump Administration.

To be clear, vaping does not “release dangerous chemicals like formaldehyde into your bloodstream,” and there are numerous scientific studies to disprove this intentionally falsified myth.   Formaldehyde poisoning is only a possibility when the heating mechanism of the vaping device is cranked up to such alarmingly high temperatures that using the contraption in the first place would be extremely unappealing to the vaper.

Related Article: New Farsalinos vape study debunks old NEJM ‘formaldehyde myth’

Furthermore, such excessive heating temperatures are all but impossible to replicate on most mass-marketed vape mods and e-cigarettes. Perhaps this is the reason that the FDA commercial explicitly states that vaping “can” release formaldehyde into the bloodstream rather than “will” or “does.”  In changing the specific wording, the FDA is not technically saying anything illegal.  The negative association between vaping and formaldehyde is only inferred.

During the Fox News interview, FDA Chief Gottlieb makes several additional false claims that are anti-vaping in nature.   However, he rarely addresses the issue of teen smoking – which is far more toxic than vaping ever could be.  To her credit, Fox News anchor Ainsley Earhardt does attempt to play devil’s advocate by offering Mr. Gottlieb several pro-vaping viewpoints by other politicians and vaping advocacy groups that differ from those of the FDA.

She also asks the obvious question by quoting Kevin Williams of the National Review. “If the FDA tries to regulate vaping, (could it) drive teens back to cigarettes?”  Gottlieb admits that he has “heard this argument,” but he successfully manages to divert the conversation without answering the question. 


(Image courtesy of Fox News)

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