Public health expert says ‘bogus’ outrage over vaping is ‘literally killing people’

Michelle Minton is an expert in public health and a Senior Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) in Washington, D.C.  She has appeared regularly on mainstream media news outlets like CNBC and C-SPAN several times labeling the current public fear surrounding teen vaping as nothing short of absurd.

In a recent interview with Brent Stafford of Regulator Watch, Ms. Minton even suggested that non-profit anti-tobacco organizations are acting as “fear profiteers.” By using their political influence to admonish vaping as just as hazardous as smoking, they are being financially rewarded by politicians on Capitol Hill who are financially backed by Big Tobacco by way of federal grant money.  Though diminutive in physical appearance, Ms. Minton is one bad-ass public health advocate. 

Related Article:  Public health expert says ‘Fear Profiteers’ are behind FDA push to kill vaping

In an article published last week on the CEI website, Minton takes issue with a July 7 article that’s gone viral across social media in recent weeks.    The article, I’m smoking cigarettes to quit my vaping habit… Yeah, I know, was written by freelance journalist Cheantay Jensen of the Long Island Post. Not only does Ms. Minton suggest that the article sounds “too ridiculous to be true,” she also sadly admits that Jensen’s story does indeed appear to be factual.

Americans being ‘bamboozled’ by vaping hating organizations

In her article, Ms. Jensen writes that she has been a daily smoker of combustible tobacco for over a decade beginning at the tender, young age of sixteen.  After which, the author then made her transition to vaping to help her quit.  And by her account, she was successful.  Jensen stopped smoking entirely.  Her smoker’s cough disappeared, and she both felt healthier and more energetic in the process.

So, what happened?  Why did Jensen return to smoking?

According to Jensen, she began reading and believing all the hogwash online about vaping being just as bad as combustible tobacco.  She also discovered that – in here eyes- she was vaping more than she had ever smoked in the past.  So, by her calculations, if smoking is just as bad as vaping, and if she was vaping more than she smoked, then she should just go back to smoking altogether.

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Ms. Minton appears to be more than a bit miffed that a so-called journalist would publish such dangerously inaccurate information. While Minton falls short of blaming Ms. Jensen outright, the primary focus of the public health expert’s ire is on the disinformation campaign about vaping being spread by non-profits, federal health agencies, and mainstream media.

“What Jensen doesn’t realize is that she has been bamboozled. Justified by the need to scare teenagers away from e-cigarettes, government health agencies and preeminent health bodies have relentlessly engaged in a campaign of misinformation, exaggeration, and outright lying about e-cigarettes. Their hope was to make vaping seem far more dangerous than the evidence indicates. And they’ve succeeded.”

Later in her rebuttal entitled Bogus E-cigarette Panic Literally Killing People, Minton specifically takes on the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society for their consistent and intentional misrepresentation of vaping.  According to the real-world scientific facts, 50 percent of smokers eventually die from smoking related illness or disease.  Vaping, on the other hand, is about 95 percent less harmful than smoking, according to Public Health England.

Unfortunately, while Ms. Jensen may have been duped by disinformation campaigns spread by anti-vaping organizations, she now has a 50/50 chance of “dying from smoking.” Minton hopes that Jensen will eventually give up combustible cigarettes completely before it’s too late.

“For her sake, I hope Jensen is right and that she’s able to fully quit smoking, but I’m not optimistic. The rates of successful quit attempts are abysmally low, giving her about a 50/50 chance. Instead of reducing her risks by about 95% as she had done by switching to vaping, Jensen now has about the same chance of quitting smoking as she does of dying from smoking. If anti-vaping advocates really cared about public health they would start telling the truth and let adults make their own informed decisions. But it seems they don’t. Or, perhaps, they just care more about being right than saving lives.”

A recent survey of 5,800 adults conducted by the Georgia State University Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science (GSU-TCRS) now indicates that about 45 percent of consumers mistakenly believe that vaping is just as dangerous as smoking.  Ms. Minton notes that in 2012, only 12 percent of the population wrongly believed this same myth.  In 2015 – when the vaping craze was at its height –35 percent held this same incorrect assumption.  While these numbers are increasing each and every year, Minton believes that perhaps millions of Americans like Jensen are quickly becoming “casualties” of the War on Vaping. 

Related Article:  In case you missed it: New poll shows 45% of USA wrongly believes e-cigs are as ‘harmful’ as smoking

(Image courtesy of C-SPAN)

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