Siegel blasts AAFP for failing to acknowledge cause of EVALI – THC with vitamin E acetate

On December 20, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) released the results of an internal survey indicating that 86 percent of vapers have a confident understanding of the dangers of vaping.  Of the more than one thousand participants in the online poll, 95 percent reported to be fully aware of the cause of the EVALI outbreak this fall.

Both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) publicly acknowledge that THC-containing cartridges laced with vitamin E acetate are directly linked to the mysterious lung ailment.  And according to the AAFP findings, more than half of all survey respondents tend to agree.  They also believe that vapers who use nicotine-based vapor products are not at substantial risk of contracting EVALI.

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These figures seem to have alarmed the AAFP because the organization provides a quote from a Dr. Natasha Bhuyan of Phoenix, Arizona, in its published press announcement.  "What's disturbing,” Bhuyan states, “is that people aren't aware of their risks. They think that people are only at risk if they are using cannabis products or black-market products. They think, 'My apple-flavored vape juice is just fine.' But it could be just as dangerous as whatever else is out there."

Siegel: AAFP’s ‘pre-existing biases’ against vaping are ‘truly dangerous’ to public health

Once Dr. Michael Siegel, a professor of public health sciences at Boston University, caught wind of the his colleague’s remarks, he found them not only disturbing but “terribly scary“ and “a depressing way to enter the holidays.” In an article posted in Tobacco Analysis on Christmas Eve, Siegel says that Bhuyan – and by extension the AAFP - is still peddling conspiracy theories which wrongly link conventional vapor products to the EVALI outbreak.

“This is deeply disturbing to me. It's also terribly scary. It basically means that the evidence-based practice of medicine is severely threatened. This is truly dangerous territory because what the AAFP is doing is allowing their pre-existing biases drive their clinical recommendations rather than the scientific evidence.”

Siegel points out that the AAFP is the official organization which represents all family doctors in the nation.  If the AAFP refuses to be swayed by scientific evidence, then the nation and the medical community overall is in big trouble.   The fact that the AAFP spokesperson – Dr. Bhuyan – is providing “exactly the opposite advice of both the CDC and the FDA” is truly alarming. 

Related Article:   Study saying vaping causes lung disease ‘not even plausible,’ says Siegel

Siegel then goes on to accuse the medical organization of publishing outright lies about vaping on its website.  Much like the obnoxious Staunton Glantz of vaping-causes-heart-attacks notoriety, the AAFP has a published fact sheet on its website that claims “e-Cigs are NOT a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes.” 

The fact sheet also wrongly claims that electronic cigarettes cannot be useful in quitting smoking.  According to Siegel, “This completely ignores the fact that National Health Interview Survey data from 2018 revealed that more than 3 million adult smokers have quit smoking completely using e-cigarettes.”

To be clear, the FDA-equivalent public health agency of the United Kingdom – Public Health England – published documented research in 2015 which indicates that vaping is 95 percent less harmful than smoking.  The research is also endorsed by England’s own Royal College of Physicians. 

Furthermore, a second vaping study conducted by researchers in Scotland found that the emissions produced from e-cigarettes is up to 99 percent less carcinogenic than their combustible counterparts.  These findings not only confirm the PHE data, it also essentially proves that second-hand e-cig vapor is substantially less toxic than second-hand combustible tobacco smoke.

Related Article:  Vaping is 99% less carcinogenic than smoking, says research

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