Data recently released has proven what many of us feared: Misinformation by the Centers for Disease Control, combined with new restrictions and taxes on people trying to quit, has led to a boon in the numbers of Americans smoking.

As today’s Wall Street Journal reports, up until 2019, smokers in the United States were quitting in droves. This process stopped when the CDC falsely claimed that reduced risk tobacco alternatives were a danger. The result was sadly predictable as “e-cigarette users turned back to combustible cigarettes”: 

 “ E-cigarette sales were booming in the fall of 2019 when the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, investigating an outbreak of a mysterious lung illness, warned consumers not to use any vaping products. Sales took a nosedive.”

From the very outset, it was known that e-cigarettes had no relationship to the lung illnesses, which were caused by illicit marijuana products laced with Vitamin E oil. However for months public health agencies continued to spread misinformation. As the Journal notes, the predictable public reaction to this has been that over 70% of people think vaping is as harmful, or more harmful, than combustible tobacco. In reality, it is proven to be 95% safer, and at least twice as effective as other nicotine replacement therapies. For this reason 32 of the world’s leading medical bodies have endorsed them as an effective aid to quitting smoking.

With smoking the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, it is imperative that Federal Agencies act promptly to convey accurate and truthful information, and refrain from spreading misinformation to pursue an anti-science ideological “abstinence only” agenda with regards to tobacco. Millions of lives quite literally depend upon it.

Originally posted on ART.ORG