New surge in junk science and ‘alternative facts’ threatens vaping
Social media is witnessing a new surge in fake news stories about the alleged and completely fictional dangers of vaping. A couple of years ago, the anti-vaping authors of junk science spread the falsehood that electronic cigarettes lead to popcorn lung. Today, vaping is being blamed for everything from computer hacks to DNA damage. How does one educate the general public on the life-saving benefits of vaping when the Internet is filled with alternative facts?
The San Francisco vaping ban on flavored e-liquids
Just days ago, San Francisco became the very first city in America to ban the sales of all flavored e-liquids, including menthol. The Associated Press reports that the vote was unanimous by city officials, based on the myth that flavored vape juice "entices kids into a lifetime of addiction." Even though these outlandish claims have been debunked by reputable scientific studies many times over, politicians around the nation are pushing their anti-vaping legislation forward by leaps and bounds.
One such study that disproves the “vaping as a gateway” myth was recently published by none other than the Cancer Research UK organization. The study also claims that e-cigarettes are infinitely safer than smoking and much more effective than traditional Big Pharma Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRTs). Yet San Francisco city councilpersons still claim the completely opposite point of view.
Vaping junk science occurring on a national scale, too
It’s not just the Bay Area politicians who are seeking to eradicate vaping. The uptick in vaping junk science is occurring at a national scale, too.
For example, just last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the 2016 National Youth Tobacco Survey which indicates a substantial decrease in teen smoking and e-cig usage in the past 12-months. Furthermore, the study shows that teen smoking rates have dropped by over 50% in the past five years.
But when the new FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb – allegedly a pro-vaping advocate and former major investor in the e-cig company KURE – was asked about the decrease, Gottlieb credited the controversial FDA deeming regulations for the downward trend rather than the American vaping industry.
To add more fuel to the flames of anti-vaping propaganda, the New York Post – a notoriously liberal publication – even ran an article on the CDC’s latest findings. However, the news report featured a decidedly negative slant towards the vaping industry. The article was entitled, Teens no longer think vaping is cool.
Is vaping doomed?
When GOP Donald Trump was elected President, many in the vaping community were hopefully optimistic that he and his administration would ultimately overturn the FDA deeming regulations that threaten to bankrupt nearly 99 percent of all locally owned vape shops by mid-2018. Trump is admittedly anti-federal regulation of almost any sort.
As proof, he has even appointed Scott Pruitt – a self-described “climate change skeptic” - to run the Environmental Protection Agency. This man has sued the EPA so many times in the past over perceived excessive regulatory issues that they are almost too numerous to count.
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But in the end, with all of this really matter? If local governments like San Francisco can now overrule or increase existing federal regulations seemingly at will, what’s next?
The vaping community still has its fair share of vocal pro-vaping advocates. Organizations like the Science Media Centre spend a great deal of time and money refuting the anti-vaping junk science and fake news stories. And public health experts like Clive Bates, Linda Bauld, Carl Phillips, and Michael Siegel, are still aggressively pointing out the discrepancies in anti-vaping junk science almost immediately upon their publication.
Vaping may not be doomed, but its future is certainly looking more and more bleak with the passage of anti-vaping legislation by local governments like that of San Francisco. The War on Vaping is not yet won, but it has just gotten a great deal uglier.
FDA deeming regulations are just the tip of the iceberg. Now the vaping community has about a million new worries to think about. How do we stop each and every city in American from passing their own anti-vaping laws?