Setting the Story Straight: The Truth About E-Cigs in the Media
Google “e-cigarettes” or “vaping.” I dare you to do it and find a big media outlet that shares the real facts, the real stories. They’re few and far between. Big media prefers to share the sensationalist, scare tactic stories. Skewed science? You’ll find that. News about taxes and restrictions? You’ll find plenty of that. You often have to dig for any positive reports on vaping, and they often come from vocal advocates, or from across the pond, as in this story showing how many people in the UK credit vaping with helping them quit. It’s not that there are no statistics about the potential benefits of vaping. It’s not that there aren’t tons of personal testimonies out there. It’s just that the big media outlets don’t pick that up. Why? Because people share the sensationalist stuff. People share the unfounded claims. Then the misconceptions spread like wildfire. What’s up with that? It’s our responsibility to set the story straight.
This story from the San Diego Union-Tribune touches on something that resonates with many people in the vaping community. The author interviews a man who made the switch to vapor cigarettes after 40 years of smoking tobacco cigs. Four decades of inhaling a chemical cocktail of death. And now he says of vaping, “It actually saved my life,” now that he’s not consuming “the 8,000 carcinogens found in a cigarette.”
These kinds of stories are similar to that of many vapers, but you don’t hear it much in the U.S. On the other hand, Public Health England has been very vocal about their sentiments on e-cigarettes, stating that e-cigs are up to 95 percent less harmful than smoking. The only time you hear big media in the U.S. mention 95 percent and vaping in the same sentence, it has to do with taxes.
The most recent —and glaring— example of bad press and misinformation regarding vaping in the U.S. came in a recent story in about Dr. Margaret Cuomo, a celebrity doc who asserts the opposite of Public Health England’s statement. Cuomo asserts that e-cigarettes can be just as bad as smoking. The Huffington Post shared video about Cuomo, and other medical experts were quick to jump on board and refute the “facts” shared therein. As Professor Hajek, who is director of Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine’s Tobacco Dependence Research Unit at Queen Mary University of London said, “It is unfortunate and sad that there are all these misguided zealots who think they are fighting a righteous battle that justifies lying for the greater good and is in fact supporting the tobacco industry and promoting smoking.”
These “misguided zealots” are everywhere you turn, spreading misinformation and perpetuating scare tactics about vaping. Politicians falsely lump together vaping with tobacco products to further restrict people’s access to something that many vapers and experts consider an effective form of tobacco harm reduction.
How do we stop the misinformation? How do we move forward to get the media to start acknowledging what many believe is the truth about vaping? We band together. We share articles that tell the truth. We stay informed and we inform others. As vapers, we are all in this together. That’s what we have to remember. We are a community. We are a force. We are the face of vaping.