Public health expert says ‘bogus’ outrage over vaping is ‘literally killing people’

Michelle Minton is an expert in public health and a Senior Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) in Washington, D.C.  She has appeared regularly on mainstream media news outlets like CNBC and C-SPAN several times labeling the current public fear surrounding teen vaping as nothing short of absurd.

In a recent interview with Brent Stafford of Regulator Watch, Ms. Minton even suggested that non-profit anti-tobacco organizations are acting as “fear profiteers.” By using their political influence to admonish vaping as just as hazardous as smoking, they are being financially rewarded by politicians on Capitol Hill who are financially backed by Big Tobacco by way of federal grant money.  Though diminutive in physical appearance, Ms. Minton is one bad-ass public health advocate. 

Related Article:  Public health expert says ‘Fear Profiteers’ are behind FDA push to kill vaping

In an article published last week on the CEI website, Minton takes issue with a July 7 article that’s gone viral across social media in recent weeks.    The article, I’m smoking cigarettes to quit my vaping habit… Yeah, I know, was written by freelance journalist Cheantay Jensen of the Long Island Post. Not only does Ms. Minton suggest that the article sounds “too ridiculous to be true,” she also sadly admits that Jensen’s story does indeed appear to be factual.

Americans being ‘bamboozled’ by vaping hating organizations

In her article, Ms. Jensen writes that she has been a daily smoker of combustible tobacco for over a decade beginning at the tender, young age of sixteen.  After which, the author then made her transition to vaping to help her quit.  And by her account, she was successful.  Jensen stopped smoking entirely.  Her smoker’s cough disappeared, and she both felt healthier and more energetic in the process.

So, what happened?  Why did Jensen return to smoking?

According to Jensen, she began reading and believing all the hogwash online about vaping being just as bad as combustible tobacco.  She also discovered that – in here eyes- she was vaping more than she had ever smoked in the past.  So, by her calculations, if smoking is just as bad as vaping, and if she was vaping more than she smoked, then she should just go back to smoking altogether.

Related Article:  The ‘kill vaping’ conspiracy: Regulator Watch releases shocking video interview

Ms. Minton appears to be more than a bit miffed that a so-called journalist would publish such dangerously inaccurate information. While Minton falls short of blaming Ms. Jensen outright, the primary focus of the public health expert’s ire is on the disinformation campaign about vaping being spread by non-profits, federal health agencies, and mainstream media.

“What Jensen doesn’t realize is that she has been bamboozled. Justified by the need to scare teenagers away from e-cigarettes, government health agencies and preeminent health bodies have relentlessly engaged in a campaign of misinformation, exaggeration, and outright lying about e-cigarettes. Their hope was to make vaping seem far more dangerous than the evidence indicates. And they’ve succeeded.”

Later in her rebuttal entitled Bogus E-cigarette Panic Literally Killing People, Minton specifically takes on the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society for their consistent and intentional misrepresentation of vaping.  According to the real-world scientific facts, 50 percent of smokers eventually die from smoking related illness or disease.  Vaping, on the other hand, is about 95 percent less harmful than smoking, according to Public Health England.

Unfortunately, while Ms. Jensen may have been duped by disinformation campaigns spread by anti-vaping organizations, she now has a 50/50 chance of “dying from smoking.” Minton hopes that Jensen will eventually give up combustible cigarettes completely before it’s too late.

“For her sake, I hope Jensen is right and that she’s able to fully quit smoking, but I’m not optimistic. The rates of successful quit attempts are abysmally low, giving her about a 50/50 chance. Instead of reducing her risks by about 95% as she had done by switching to vaping, Jensen now has about the same chance of quitting smoking as she does of dying from smoking. If anti-vaping advocates really cared about public health they would start telling the truth and let adults make their own informed decisions. But it seems they don’t. Or, perhaps, they just care more about being right than saving lives.”

A recent survey of 5,800 adults conducted by the Georgia State University Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science (GSU-TCRS) now indicates that about 45 percent of consumers mistakenly believe that vaping is just as dangerous as smoking.  Ms. Minton notes that in 2012, only 12 percent of the population wrongly believed this same myth.  In 2015 – when the vaping craze was at its height –35 percent held this same incorrect assumption.  While these numbers are increasing each and every year, Minton believes that perhaps millions of Americans like Jensen are quickly becoming “casualties” of the War on Vaping. 

Related Article:  In case you missed it: New poll shows 45% of USA wrongly believes e-cigs are as ‘harmful’ as smoking

(Image courtesy of C-SPAN)

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GOP juggernaut George Will speaks out against vaping bans

George Will has been a political force of nature within the Republican party for decades, and he has just announced his views that the anti-vaping movement is probably heading in the wrong direction.  While cities like San Francisco are implementing, or at least considering, bans on the sales of vapor products, Will wonders why these same local lawmakers are not going after combustible tobacco cigarettes with the same aggression instead.

In an opinion piece offered in The Washington Post, Will states that trying to reduce national smoking rates through vape bans may actually “backfire” and drive more young people into the welcoming, open arms of Big Tobacco.   Instead of banning vapes, Mr. Will counters that legislators should instead focus on vapor education much like they did 50 years ago when smoking became such a critical concern for public health.

“More cigarettes might be sold because of bans on vaping products — because smokers cannot use e-cigarettes to stop smoking, or because teenage vapers will move on to readily available cigarettes. Perhaps instead of bans California should revive the antismoking ads that three decades ago reduced the number of smokers 17 percent in three years: ‘I tried it once and I, ah, got all red in the face and I couldn’t inhale and I felt like a jerk and, ah, never tried it again, which is the same as what happened to me with sex.’”

Related Article:   Judge makes it official: Vape retailers have 10-months to submit PMTAs…or else

Will also notes that teen smoking rates are currently at historic lows, and he further implies that the rise in popularity of electronic cigarettes may have had a significant influential role in the declining numbers.  However, he also points to unsubstantiated statistics published by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that allegedly indicate a near 80 percent rise in teen vaping from 2017-2018.  Mr. Will suggests that this may be only a “fashion fad” and that perhaps the FDA and politicians alike are acting prematurely. 

“When vaping among high schoolers increases 78 percent in one year (from 2017 to 2018), it has become a fashion fad that is flourishing in the absence of credible frightening information. But, then, after more than half a century of the aggressive dissemination of such information, 16 percent of American adults still smoke.”

The Wall Street Journal once called George Willperhaps the most powerful journalist in America.”   So, his timely and open rebuke of the Bay Area’s prohibition of vapor products may hold some political clout on Capitol Hill.  Unfortunately, Will also makes the same mistakes in his editorial that most journalists make when jumping to the defense or opposition of vaping. 

George Will avoids the issues of political corruption and Big Pharma

Relying on national statistics published by the FDA without reviewing the underlying evidence that supports them is unprofessional at the least and grossly irresponsible at the worst.  The alleged rise in teen vaping of 2018 was a creation of the then-FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb – the very man who left his job just a few, brief months ago to take a position with the Pfizer pharmaceutical company.

Who is Pfizer?  The manufacturer of Chantix – one of the world’s most profitable stop smoking drugs.  It’s also been linked to thousands of suicides, too, because of its propensity to induce deep depression as a possible negative side effect.    

Other Big Pharma companies also stand to profit from a federally instituted vapor ban.  GlaxoSmithKline‎, for example, makes Nicorette gums and lozenges, and the Johnson & Johnson company owns the patents on those nicotine patches that were once all the rage among smokers trying to quit.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if someone like George Will published an exposé on this sort of high-level corruption rather than just repeating unproven vaping myths and statistics originally generated by a highly questionable FDA? 

Related Article:  Conspiracy or coincidence? FDA chief Gottlieb joins Pfizer/Chantix team

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Research shows looking at green trees & foliage can reduce smokers’ cravings

Reconnecting with Mother Nature can produce many therapeutic health benefits that seemingly boost boost the body, mind, and spirit.  New research suggests that the ability to gaze upon green plants like trees, shrubs, and foliage on a consistent basis can help reduce one’s cravings to smoke, drink alcohol, or engage in other bad habits.

Conducted by a group of scientists from the University of Plymouth (U of P) in the United Kingdom, the study builds upon prior research that shows a direct link between outdoor exercise and a similar reduction in negative behaviors. The latest data now suggests that simply gazing upon green spaces outside one’s window may have the same effects without the need for the physical activity whatsoever.

‘Going green’ takes on a whole, new meaning for smokers trying to quit

The study entitled Natural environments and craving: The mediating role of negative affect was published last week in the online journal Science Direct.  For centuries, many cultures have believed that increased exposure to outdoor environments can substantially affect mood, feelings, and emotional outlook.   The U of P research is considered the first project of its kind to investigate the relationship between green spaces and appetite cravings for a variety of substances, including harmful foods and sweets. Lead author Leanne Martin issued the following statement via the University of Plymouth website.

“It has been known for some time that being outdoors in nature is linked to a person’s well-being. But for there to be a similar association with cravings from simply being able to see green spaces adds a new dimension to previous research. This is the first study to explore this idea, and it could have a range of implications for both public health and environmental protection programmes in the future.”

To arrive at their scientific conclusions, the university researchers considered the proportional area of greenery, including trees, shrubs, lawns, and other plants, that is viewable from inside the smokers’ living spaces.  For smokers residing in more urban areas where views of such greenery may be somewhat lacking, the smokers’ access and frequency of use of public parks, gardens, and other green spaces was also taken into consideration.

Related Article:   New Duke study shows FDA vaping crackdown can increase teen smoking by 47%

The study’s findings indicate that those people who interact with nature more directly and on a regular basis, such as by visiting public gardens, can significantly reduce their related cravings in both frequency and strength.  Furthermore, smokers with access to at least a 25 percent area of viewable green space from within their homes or offices experience similar cravings reductions. Associate Professor of Psychology Dr. Sabine Pahl also added the following comments.

“Craving contributes to a variety of health-damaging behaviours such as smoking, excessive drinking and unhealthy eating. In turn, these can contribute to some of the greatest global health challenges of our time, including cancer, obesity and diabetes. Showing that lower craving is linked to more exposure to green spaces is a promising first step. Future research should investigate if and how green spaces can be used to help people withstand problematic cravings, enabling them to better manage cessation attempts in the future.”

For smokers trying to quit by switching to vaping, the first few days or weeks of the transition can sometimes be challenging.  The troublesome cravings for a conventional combustible tobacco cigarette can still be quite strong on occasion even for the most avid, diehard vaper.  Rather than reaching for a Marlboro and risking permanent smoking relapses, newbie and veteran vapers alike who are experiencing smokers’ cravings might want to consider simply gazing out the window onto a lush, green landscape or taking a short walk through the neighborhood instead. 

Related Article:   5 ways that vaping CBD might improve your health

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