A recent article published in The Examiner by two Tasmanian anti-vape advocates, Dr Sukhwinder Sohal and Dr Kathryn Barnsley, has spread a number of incorrect facts about vaping.
Discussed by renowned Australian tobacco harm reduction expert, Dr. Colin Mendelsohn, on his webpage, the piece completely ignores the scientific data available in favour of using vaping products for smoking cessation and harm reduction. The authors go on to make false alarming claims such as that “e-cigarettes will likely cause head, neck and oral cancers, cardiovascular disease and strokes.”
Sohal and Barnsley go on to say that there are many things we still don’t know about the effects of vaping, yet fail to mention that we do know that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking. They also chose to ignore the countless studies which have concluded that when smokers switch from smoking to vaping, their respiratory and cardiovascular health improves significantly.
The authors also said that vapes are “likely to exacerbate COVID-19 symptoms,” when on the other hand countless studies have reported that consuming nicotine actually acts as a protective factor against contracting the virus. The article goes on to falsely claim that any evidence that the devices can help smokers quit “is very thin,” when in fact countless studies have found that vaping products re the most effective smoking cessation tools to date.
In fact a recent review by the National Institute for Health Research of 171 smoking cessation trials said that vaping was the single most effective of all smoking cessation medications. Mendelsohn highlights that Sohal and Barnsley fail to consider the products in the right perspective. “Sohal and Barnsley state the obvious, that “lungs are designed for air”. Of course this is true and it is best not to smoke or vape. However, smokers are exposed to a poisonous mix of 7,000 toxins and carcinogens in high doses. Around 200 different chemicals have been found in vapour, mostly in trace or very low doses.”
He concludes his article by explaining why such misinformation is so detrimental. He highlighted that smokers need to know the facts about vaping, so that they can make an informed choice about trying it or not. He reiterated that vaping is significantly safer than smoking and likely the most effective smoking cessation tool to date. “Misinformation which discourages smokers from switching to vaping supports the cigarette trade and will result in more deaths and illness,” he concluded.
Queensland parliament carrying out an inquiry into vape risks
Meanwhile, the Queensland parliament will be examining the health risks, contents and consumption patterns of vapes. The inquiry comes amid concerns that some of the vapes advertised as not containing nicotine actually do.
Moreover, Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said that the inquiry needs to look into whether vaping acts as a gateway to smoking, this despite the fact that studies worldwide have already debunked this theory. Sadly, the premier also fails to recognize that there’s a direct relationship between the increase in vaping and decrease in smoking. ‘Fewer people are smoking but we are seeing a significant number of people vaping,’ she said.
Palaszczuk added that the inquiry, which will be carried out by parliament’s Health and Environment Committee, will examine ways to discourage uptake of e-cigarettes by youngsters. To this effect, it will analyze vaping rates among children and young people, the risks vaping poses to the public and the health system, and also approaches being taken in schools to discourage the habit.