• March 2, 2024

Lying about vaping

 Lying about vaping

If there is one thing of which the tobacco industry is painfully aware, it is that once public trust is lost, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to gain it back.

And yet, even with the example of the tobacco industry being up there in lights, it’s not unusual to see other industries and businesses handling the truth of their activities carelessly.

But one area of human endeavor must surely be immune to such shenanigans: public health.

Or is it? Writing on his blog, a US public health expert yesterday said that he was pained to have to report that the Pennsylvania Department of Health was urging parents to lie to their children about electronic cigarettes in order to dissuade them from vaping. ‘In addition, the Pennsylvania Department of Health is lying to the public about the dangers of e-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes as well,’ said Dr. Michael Siegel (pictured), who is a Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health.

‘The Pennsylvania Department of Health put out a tweet that read: “E-cigarettes, e-cigs, e-hookahs, mods, vape pens or vapes — whatever you call them, they are NOT safer than other tobacco products”.’

Siegel points out that telling the truth is a critical component of the public health code of ethics. ‘It is important not only because it is unethical to lie, but also because we greatly risk losing credibility and the public’s trust if we are found to be lying,’ he said.

He then goes on to say that it is not true that e-cigarettes are as dangerous as tobacco cigarettes, or that vaping is as dangerous as smoking.

And he ends his piece with some simple truths: ‘The rest of the story is that lying to kids isn’t justified even if it did prevent them from vaping. But it is doing just the opposite, as kids see through the lies and in some ways, it makes vaping more attractive.’