‘I’m an American doctor. Here’s the truth about Juul, vaping and legalizing marijuana’

by on October 21, 2019 · 0 comments

in Health

Fear-mongering does none of us any good. We need to talk about the actual evidence

By Eugene Gu / Independent / October 18, 2019 San Francisco

As a physician, I believe the medical community has a solemn responsibility to adhere to facts and evidence over hype and sensationalism. This is especially true when it comes to public health, for it is an integral part of our Hippocratic oath to “first, do no harm.”

Yet it is with great dismay that I’ve seen the medical community in both the mainstream press and on social media resort to fear-mongering and mob-like scapegoating when it comes to the nuanced complexities of the vaping epidemic in the United States. A UCSF Professor of Medicine and Director of the Center for Tobacco Control even tweeted that those who vape “would be better off just smoking.”

When doctors ignore actual evidence, we exploit our credibility as healers to promote our own agendas — which can ultimately cause great harm to patients.

Every year more than 480,000 Americans die from cigarette smoking and more than 41,000 die from secondhand smoke. That means that in just one hour, more than twice as many Americans die from tobacco smoke than everyone who died from vaping-associated lung injuries thus far. While we must take the vaping epidemic seriously — especially when it involves children and young teenagers — comparing the two in terms of harm is like equating the thousands of fatalities from car accidents to the extremely rare but attention-grabbing airplane crashes that occasionally grip the news. In terms of harm reduction, air travel is orders of magnitude safer than driving, so convincing people to drive rather than fly can actually cause more deaths and injuries, despite how strongly a fiery crash stirs our fears.

The same holds true for e-cigarettes. Stories of previously healthy young patients suddenly falling ill after vaping, needing to be intubated and hooked to breathing machines, is extremely jarring and heartbreaking. But when it comes to public health, evidence matters more than emotions. While the long-term effects of vaping are unknown, e-cigarettes may be 95 per cent less harmful than smoking according to Public Health England. But even beyond that, it appears the medical community and politicians may be pointing the finger at the wrong place. According to the CDC, it is likely that black market cannabis vaping materials, rather than legitimately sold and tested e-cigarettes, are the primary cause of the acute lung injuries that have tragically claimed the lives of 26 people so far. Yet it is the legitimately sold e-cigarettes that are now subject to local government bans across the country from New York to Massachusetts to California, potentially driving vapers to use far more deadly traditional cigarettes.

For the balance of this article, please go here.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: