Just last week, a new study released by two highly-regarded scholars in the field of public health science alleges that misinformation spread by the FDA is causing irreparable harm to public health. The paper evaluates and discusses the surge in news articles and scientific research published by the FDA in recent years that fails to provide comparative data on smoking vs. e-cigs.
The study is co-authored by David T. Sweanor, an adjunct professor at the University of Ottawa, Canada, and Lynn T. Kozlowski who teaches at the University at Buffalo, New York, as an assistant professor of Public Health and Health Professions. Concerned vapers can find the study recently published in the online scientific journal Science Direct.
Is the FDA intentionally spreading misinformation about e-cigs?
The paper discusses in considerable detail several examples of FDA anti-vaping marketing campaigns that tend to overwhelmingly demonize vaping without saying a word about smoking. For example, just a few months ago, the FDA launched such a campaign calling vapers “stupid sheep.” According to Sweanor and Kozlowski, the FDA is causing considerable harm to public health by failing to educate the public about the differences in health risks between vaping and smoking.
“Remarkably, nowhere in the FDA smokeless campaign is it made clear that cigarette smoking is much more dangerous to health than is ST (smokeless tobacco).”
The two public health scholars also conducted an extensive survey of typical citizens to determine their level of awareness between the different health risks associated with vaping and smoking. Participants were asked their opinions on whether e-cigs and vaping technology were as harmful as conventional tobacco products like cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco.
- 58.2 percent rated them “about the same.”
- 31.8 percent rated e-cigs “more risky.”
- 2.8 percent responded with “don’t know.”
- And only 7.1 percent of those asked believed that e-cigs were “less risky” than Big Tobacco.
Understandably, the study’s co-authors found these statistics rather disturbing. How can such a large percentage of the general public have such a negative view of such a healthy product? Sweanor and Kozlowski even state that the FDA’s “official avoidance of providing health information on differential risks from tobacco/nicotine products” is rather noteworthy.
“It is remarkable that about 4 1/2 times as many respondents said ST was ‘more risky’ than cigarettes than less said it was ‘less risky’ than cigarettes; and the large majority (about 93%) did not appear to know that ST was less risky than cigarettes!”
“FDA's failure to provide comparative risk information is consistent with a major trend. For decades in the United States, health authorities have failed to provide accurate differential risk information on tobacco products (Kozlowski and O'Connor, 2003 and Kozlowski and Sweanor, 2016).
(Related Article: CDC launches anti-vaping campaign in California; Calls vapers ‘stupid sheep’)