The Daily Mail has once more made an attempt at a story that treats vaping in a positive way. This time they only just missed the mark in a couple of important aspects.
The Sunday spread has the makings of an article worth sharing. But it needs a few tweaks to make it completely accurate, rather than sensationalising issues that aren’t real.
The headline read:
“Second British death is linked to e-cigarettes as worried vapers go back to tobacco despite medics’ warnings”
Whereas it would more appropriately have stated:
“Worried vapers go back to tobacco despite medics’ warnings, as second British death is falsely linked to e-cigarettes”. Because the article ‘linking’ the death with vaping goes on to say: “It would be easy to assume the two are, somehow, linked. The pen-like gadgets contain the same addictive nicotine, without the toxic tar and carbon monoxide, found in cigarette smoke. But the truth is there is no evidence to suggest vaping – as the habit is commonly called – was a factor in the death.”
Advice on vaping
In the most recent advice from prominent health bodies in the UK, such as Public Health England the advice remains completely the same. There is never a situation where it is better to smoke than vape. But unfortunately thanks to irresponsible headlines and click bait articles, some vapers may well be moving back to tobacco.
The spate of incidents in the USA is entirely localised. It seems firmly linked to the use of illicit THC products, not nicotine containing e-liquids. There is no evidence that any of the same issues are happening in the UK or that any incidents that have been loosely related to electronic cigarettes are truthful.
Will UK vapers return to smoking?
They go on to state that scientists are concerned that UK vapers will return to cigarettes as these false reports spread from the USA. Almost uniquely for a UK daily newspaper, the analysis of the relative safety of vaping is made in a positive and accurate way.
“We outline the crucial facts that prove the supposed harms of vaping have been blown way out of proportion. And, according to the scientists, the scaremongering may be more dangerous than the devices themselves.” Too right, Jo Macfarlane of the Daily Mail, the scaremongering is completely out of proportion. Vaping helps people to quit smoking, and your article goes on to explain how remarkable the difference in harm profiles of the two are.
Ann McNeill, Professor of tobacco addiction at King’s College London is quoted in the article as saying:
‘We need to be careful that, when we hear these stories from the US we don’t deter people from using e-cigarettes. Tobacco is so uniquely harmful. The reality is that e-cigarettes have radically cut smoking rates since being introduced in 2010.”
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of the charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), is also quoted as saying:
“Bad news about e-cigarettes is what journalists want and what the public is interested in. The coverage is, as a result, very misleading.”
USA ‘vaping’ issues are very different
Clearly there is a strong attempt being made by scientists, health specialists and medics to explain why the huge issues seen in the US over recent months have nothing to do with vaping, and everything to do with what is being vaped there. We find ourselves rather surprised to see The Daily Mail helping to redress this balance, and to provide some genuine reassurance to those that have quit smoking through vaping.
A Daily Mail article on vaping that is worth reading in full? They have actually managed it!