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The fake news trend has been hitting the vaping community hard, but only recently has the misinformation campaign been utilized by a major news outlet.
The Rebel, an independent media source that discusses fake news among other issues, is reporting that CNN has joined the fight against vaping by spreading the false claim that tobacco use is on the rise amongst high school students. The news outlet has been consistently under fire by researchers, scientists and activists from different industries for their gaffes when it comes to reporting the news accurately. It is currently reporting that tobacco use by students increasing by 900 percent from 2011 to 2015. All of its information comes from the US Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek H. Murthy.
Murthy states that: “These products are now the most commonly used form of tobacco among youth in the United States, surpassing conventional tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco and hookahs.”
Not only is the original tweet that The Rebel used for its reporting wrong, the article by the CNN is also loaded with misinformation.
The CNN article, which is located on the media outlet’s health section and can be read in full here, is full of scare tactics that have often been employed to scare people out of using vaping as a smoking cessation method. From Dr. Tom Frieden, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stating that vaping companies are using the same advertising tactics as tobacco companies to lure young users to the continuously debunked idea that vaping is a gateway to smoking, the article utilizes every single fear-mongering weapon at its disposal.
For example, the statistic that there’s been a 900 percent increase in tobacco use is wrong. Many vaping liquids do not contain nicotine at all, and other liquids that do contain nicotine use a synthetic version of the ingredient that doesn’t have the same risks as tobacco-derived nicotine. And the report doesn’t take into account whether or not a teen tried a vape liquid with or without nicotine, which brings into question the veracity of the report or even which teen is actually a daily user, an occasional user, or just a teen who tried vaping once.
This is further highlighted by the CNN article, which used Tyra Nicolay, a 16-year tobacco control advocate. She is described as being a “former e-cigarette user” without explaining what kind of liquids she used, the amount of nicotine within them, and how long she’d been vaping. In fact, no information about her is known other than what the article deemed necessary for its biased reporting.
Another problem with the reporting is that the U.S. Surgeon General’s office has created a website, which you can see here, that glazes over many recent studies that show that vaping is 95 percent less dangerous that traditional cigarettes. It also continues to classify vaping as tobacco because many liquids, but not all of them, continue to use tobacco-derived nicotine. There is no mention of how nicotine is not what makes cigarettes addictive.
Something else a concerned citizen wouldn’t know while scanning the CNN piece or the Surgeon General’s website is how nicotine is considered a “smart drug,” a group of chemicals that can enhance a person’s life. In fact, the podcast SmartDrugSmarts, which focuses on smart drugs, states that: “It[nicotine]
increases focus and alertness, helps sustain attention, and decreases distractibility. It also controls hunger and reduces pain. Researchers are even looking into therapeutic uses for nicotine in the fight against dementia and Alzheimer’s.”
The entire CNN piece can be challenged, point by point, but it matters very little to the U.S. Surgeon General. This is because there is a lot of political money backing the anti-vaping movement, and most of it is coming from Big Tobacco and Big Pharma. This trend of fake news attacking vaping will continue so long as people are not asking questions about the veracity of the claims made in the mainstream media.
We want you to think for yourself. We want you to understand that in order to get to the truth, you have to think critically. Look over the CNN piece, then take into account what Holly Nicholas at The Rebel states at the end of her piece and in her video. She says:
“This has nothing to do with public safety and everything to do with self-interest and what they’re doing, either knowingly or not, works to prevent people from opting for a healthier alternative to smoking.”
Readers like you know that knowledge is power. When you see tweets or fake news like this, we hope that you’ll take the time to research it, defend what you know, and ask for clarity from the people writing these articles. Ask these journalists how they came up with their article and why these pieces are biased. Ask them why there isn’t an opposing opinion or any shred of evidence that there is an opposing view.
Because if we don’t stand up to fake news, even just for vaping, where will it end?