Siegel rebukes American Heart Association for spreading disinformation about vaping

When the American Heart Association (AHA) recently made false claims that vaping is just as dangerous as smoking, public health expert Dr. Michael Siegel was immediately outraged.  The Professor of Community Health and Sciences from Boston University has long been a proponent of vaping as a healthier and safer alternative to smoking.  He is also a supporter of the 2016 research published by Public Health England which claims vaping is 95 percent less harmful than smoking.   

Siegel’s indignation began when an article appeared in the UK’s Daily Mail which quoted AHA representatives as saying, “We just don't know if moving to e-cigarettes is good enough to reduce the harm (of smoking).” While this statement is provably untrue, Siegel was especially angered by the article’s dishonest and grossly outrageous headline - E-cigarettes are as dangerous as smoking - just ONE puff could be all it takes to increase the risk of a heart attack.

AHA comments ‘is disseminating this false information to the public’

In his blog entitled The rest of the story, Siegel  blasted the AHA for continuously clinging to “alternative facts” about vaping.  He also said that he was growing increasingly frustrated by “denialists” who consistently demonize vape products while always seeming to give combustible tobacco a free pass.

“Today, it appears that the American Heart Association is still taking a public denialist stance with regards to the health benefits of quitting smoking by switching to vaping. Despite overwhelming scientific evidence that vaping is much safer than smoking and that quitting smoking by switching to electronic cigarettes has dramatic and immediate health benefits, the American Heart Association is still clinging to the false message that smoking may be no safer than vaping.”

Related Article:  Public health expert accuses CDC of ‘concealing and suppressing’ vaping data

Siegel then began to reference The Daily Mail article with the shamefully misleading headline. He also noted that – upon more extensive research – a similar headline also appeared in the San Diego Union-Tribune in the United States around the same time.

“As the Daily Mail is not necessarily a trustworthy source (note the headline that a single e-cigarette can potentially lead to a heart attack), I confirmed this quote with other sources. The same quote appeared in the San Diego Union-Tribune two weeks ago. It seems clear that the American Heart Association, through its Tobacco Research and Addiction Center, is still clinging to the belief that smoking may be no more hazardous than vaping. Furthermore, the American Heart Association is disseminating this false information to the public.”

Siegel says that the AHA claims that vaping leads to higher risks of heart attacks and is equally as dangerous as smoking is “not only false, but it is potentially damaging.”  He expresses extreme worry that if smokers begin to believe these lies and disinformation campaigns, they may never attempt to switch to vaping as a healthier and more effective way to qui smoking. He also says that he’s “surprised” that Big Tobacco companies haven’t started using the AHA comments as a devious marketing tool to increase cigarette sales. 

Related Article: New CDC research indicates most vapers are former smokers

(Image courtesy of YouTube)

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