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Pennsylvania DOH falsely claims vaping ‘is NOT safer’ than smoking

What is this world coming to when the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PADOH) issues a blatantly false statement claiming that vaping is not safer than other tobacco products? Even the most passionate anti-vapers are extremely careful not to cross this red line of indecency.

And who is indirectly to blame for this gross misuse of state-funded, anti-vaping propaganda?   Many are looking no further than the head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and former Big Pharma multi-board member Dr. Scott Gottlieb.  The revolting event began with a January 21 tweet from the PADOH stating the following.

“E-cigarettes, e-cigs, e-hookahs, mods, vape pens or vapes—whatever you call them, they are NOT safer than other tobacco products. Learn how you can help protect you child's health by talking about the dangers of vaping bit.ly/2RuVOev  #NoEcigs4Kids

The poor grammar alone wreaks of unprofessionalism (…it should say “protect YOUR child’s health…”), but why would any self-respecting public health agency blast such an easily disprovable falsehood clear across social media?  By clicking the included link in the original message, the reader travels to a statement from the U.S. Surgeon General’s office labeling teen vaping as a national “epidemic.”

Related Article:  Does U.S. Surgeon General (who calls vaping an ‘epidemic’) have ties to Big Tobacco?

But SG Dr. Jerome Adams did not come up with this fear-mongering tactic all by himself.  The epidemic verbiage originated from a September 12 press announcement published by none other than FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb himself. 

Public health officials in Pennsylvania going rogue

Initiated by Gottlieb and copycatted by Adams, the vaping-epidemical claims now appear to be filtering down to the state level – most recently to the Pennsylvania Department of Public Health – but with an even more vile, more contemptuous twist.

Many are claiming that the PADOH is outright lying by tweeting that vaping is not safer than smoking.  We know this statement is untrue because even the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claim the opposite, much as agency officials may hate to admit it.  In a CDC-published document entitled Electronic cigarettes; What’s the bottom line, the CDC states some positive assertions about vaping compared to smoking, including the following.

E-cigarettes have the potential to benefit adult smokers who are not pregnant if used as a complete substitute for regular cigarettes and other smoked tobacco products.

And if the CDC reports are not proof enough, turn to Great Britain’s Royal College of Physicians and the FDA-equivalent agency Public Health England who both publicly endorse vaping as a 95% less harmful alternative to smoking.  To this day, the FDA still refuses to officially acknowledge that e-cigs are a safe smoking cessation tool.

Related Article:  Vaping lies: ‘The Truth’ campaign falsely claims 1 Juul pod = 20 cigarettes

Furthermore, directly below the originally tweeted statement, the PADOH also includes a graphic which states: Talk to your child about the risks of e-cigarettes and urge them to remain tobacco-free.

While this statement may not be an outright lie, t it is severely and reprehensibly misleading, nonetheless.  It is an incontrovertible fact that “e-cigarettes” are already 100% “tobacco-free.”  And while no self-respecting vaper would ever endorse teen vaping, anyone who vapes – kid or not - is already remaining “tobacco-free.”  

Reaction to the PADOH tweet was swift and scathing.  Former Director General of Wales and staunch vaping advocate Clive Bates expressed his disgust with the PADOH tweet immediately.   

“Incredible: you might as well be PR hacks for the cigarette trade. There is a vast body of science showing that e-cigarettes are much safer than cigarettes. Why would you make smoking seem more acceptable in this way?”

The highly-regarded expert in tobacco harm reduction Carl V. Phillips also offers an aggressive scolding while also accusing the PADOH of outright lying.

“Me, talking to my hypothetical 14yo: ‘There is something very important to learn here. I have taught you to understand science better than @PAHealthDept does, so you know this is obviously false. The lesson to learn is that govts lie without hesitation.’”

The Dead Vape Shop of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, also voiced outrage and accusations of lying by PADOH officials.

“That's a flat out lie. If you honestly think that's the case, get out of the ‘health’ field and try retail. The global scientific consensus is that these products present only 1% to 3% the harm of smoking. Here’s what the oldest, most prestigious medical society in the world says: (link then provided to the UK research claiming vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking)”

The war on vaping is clearly kicking up a few notches.  Public health officials - local, state, and federal – are now resorting to lies, innuendo, and intentionally misleading statements in their collective efforts to lure Americans – particularly young adults and teenagers – into the welcoming, open arms of Big Tobacco.  Again, the question must be asked. What is this world coming to?

Related Article:  Citing teen vaping as an ‘epidemic,’ FDA Chief Scott Gottlieb launches investigation

(Image Courtesy of Pennsylvania Department of Health, Twitter @PAHealthDept)

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