Today (03/11/19) the Mail on Sunday published an article with the headline; ‘Second British death is linked to e-cigarettes as worried vapers go back to tobacco despite medics’ warnings’. However, within four paragraphs, the truth of the situation is revealed – “…there is no evidence to suggest vaping – as the habit is commonly called – was a factor in the death.”. The headline and the opening salvo of this article is another example of the ill-judged journalism that will only serve to send vapers back to smoking.
It is important to note that neither of the “British deaths” this article attributes to e-cigarettes have been linked to vaping by medical practitioners, the link has only been made in the media. In the USA, where 1,888 cases of lung injury have been reportedly linked to vaping, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is increasingly clear that illicit cannabis e-liquids purchased off the street is the cause of the outbreak, not regulated, nicotine containing products that are common across Europe. Blaming the method of delivery without indicating which active substance caused the illnesses is wholly irresponsible.
We would strongly suggest that the Mail on Sunday follows the advice of Dr Ann McNeill, professor of tobacco addiction at King’s College London which features in the article – “We need to be careful that, when we hear these stories from the US we don’t deter people from using e-cigarettes.”. This article often veers too far into speculation and uses clumsy language which feeds inaccurate perceptions of vaping. Just this week a new report highlighted that 43% of UK smokers do not believe that e-cigarettes are less harmful than tobacco cigarettes, and it is media reporting like this which fuels misperceptions.
The facts are clear; vaping is significantly less harmful than smoking and the most effective quitting aid available on the market. This message must be more effectively communicated by the media, or they risk the lives of smokers.