OLYMPIA, W.A. – Today, the American Vaping Association, a leading advocate for the benefits of vapor products such as electronic cigarettes, commended Washington State Secretary of Health Dr. John Wiesman for correcting a false and misleading statement issued to the media under his name by Governor Jay Inslee’s press office.
In the initial press release sent earlier this week, Dr. Wiesman was quoted as stating, “Many kids believe e-cigarettes are safer, but scientific evidence suggests they are not.” Dr. Michael Siegel, a longtime anti-smoking advocate and a professor of public health at the University of Boston School of Public Health, was quick to criticize the statement, noting that such misinformation “does profound public health damage.” Shortly thereafter, the press statement was amended so that it no longer falsely claimed that vaping may be as hazardous as smoking: “Many kids believe e-cigarettes are safe, but scientific evidence suggests they are not.”
While Gov. Inslee’s communications office did amend the press release, they did not publicly disclose that the edit had been made.
Gregory Conley, President of the American Vaping Association, issued the following statement:
“We applaud Dr. Wiesman for his display of scientific integrity. Equating the harms of deadly combustible cigarettes with smoke-free vapor products is irresponsible and just plain wrong. Dr. Wiesman did the right thing by amending his statement.
“For the betterment of public health, Dr. Wiesman should do more to clear up the dangerous misinformation that is leading some smokers in Washington to believe that vaping may be no less hazardous than smoking. We would not accept this sort of propaganda from tobacco companies and the same should be true for those purporting to speak on behalf of the public health community.
“We continue to call on the Washington Legislature to reject Gov. Inslee’s push to shut down the Washington vaping industry by enacting both a 95% retail sales tax and ban on flavored products. These policies will not only cost the state jobs, but they will also have the deadly side effect of stopping smokers from trying to quit.”
Dr. Michael Siegel, Professor of Public Health at the Boston University School of Public Health, issued the following statement:
“Now, I hope that the other anti-smoking and health groups which have made false or misleading statements about electronic cigarettes will correct those statements. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to occur, as while Dr. Wiesman merely made a mistake, the misleading statements by many other health groups are part of a deliberate campaign to demonize e-cigarettes.”
About the American Vaping Association
The American Vaping Association is a nonprofit organization that advocates for fair and sensible regulation of vapor products, otherwise known as electronic cigarettes, with the goal of maximizing the number of adult smokers who use these products to quit smoking. The AVA was founded by Gregory Conley, a consumer and industry advocate with a long track record of advocating for vapor products dating back to 2010.
We are dedicated to educating the public and government officials about public health benefits offered by vapor products, which are battery-powered devices that heat a liquid nicotine or nicotine-free solution and create an inhalable vapor. The AVA is not a trade group and does not speak for any particular businesses, including our industry sponsors.