Hamilton, ON, Aug. 07, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Canadian Vaping Association (CVA) is alarmed by the resurgence of articles inaccurately depicting vaping as being as harmful as smoking, as well as linking vaping to increased COVID-19 symptom severity. As both claims have long been disproven, it is concerning to see a sudden return of misinformation coming out of the United States.

The Royal College of Physicians was first to conclude six years ago that vaping is at least 95 percent less harmful than smoking. Since that time Public Health England has conducted annual independent studies to further validate these findings and to date all studies have shown the same positive results. As a result of these and other studies, vaping has been recognized for several years by many major health organizations to be less harmful than smoking. Publications stating otherwise are at best uniformed and at worst willfully ignorant. Given that a basic fact check would disprove the claim that vaping poses the same risks as smoking, it is apparent that ulterior motives or personal bias are at play.

Darryl Tempest, Executive Director of the CVA stated, “Disregarding the facts in bad faith jeopardizes the heath of millions of smokers globally. Controlled trials conducted by National Health Services concluded that vaping as a smoking cessation tool is twice as effective as any other nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) product. These trials concluded that smokers increase their chances of quitting smoking by 83% using e-cigarettes compared to any other NRTs. Given that 1 in 2 smokers will die from smoking related illness, it is in the interest of public health to embrace the world’s most effective harm reduction tool.”

In addition to misleading smokers about the relative harm vaping products pose, it is equally troubling to the CVA that many publications continue to link vaping to COVID-19 long after health authorities have verified that there is no proven connection. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated, “E-cigarette use can expose the lungs to toxic chemicals, but whether those exposures increase the risk of COVID-19 is not known.” The FDA removed vaping from its risk statement to reference smoking only. “Cigarette smoking causes heart and lung diseases, suppresses the immune system, and increases the risk of respiratory infections,” FDA spokeswoman Alison Hunt said. “People who smoke cigarettes may be at increased risk from COVID-19, and may have worse outcomes from COVID-19.”

The Science Media Research Center released statements regarding their understanding of vaping and COVID-19, and these statements clearly demonstrate that the scientific community recognizes the great harm reduction potential of vaping products. “There is no evidence that vaping increases the risk of infection or progression to severe conditions of COVID-19. However, vapers with a long previous smoking history could exhibit conditions seen in vulnerable patients. However, this would not be an effect of vaping but of previous smoking. Since completely switching from smoking to vaping improves cardiovascular and respiratory conditions, smokers who switch to vaping might be expected to have a better prognosis if infected by COVID-19,” said Dr. Caitlyn Notley. She went on to state that “E-cigarettes are the most popular consumer option for stop smoking support, and they are effective. People should be encouraged to switch to vaping rather than continuing to smoke tobacco.”.

Journalism is guided by several principals, including truth, accuracy, and humanity. The publications that falsely link vaping to COVID-19 and erroneously state that vaping is as harmful as smoking have failed to uphold these basic principals by disregarding the facts. The CVA would like to remind irresponsible journalists of these guiding principals and urge them to research the facts rather than perpetuating misinformation that can jeopardize the lives of millions of smokers.

Darryl Tempest
The Canadian Vaping Association 
6472741867
dtempest@thecva.org