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Experts conclude there is no evidence to support a link between COVID-19 and vaping

Hamilton, ON, April 08, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Canadian Vaping Association is disturbed by the numerous misinformed reports that vaping is linked to COVID-19 susceptibility and complications. Vaping is no stranger to misinformation, sensationalist reporting, and personal bias. It is completely unacceptable for anyone to make such unfounded statements during these unprecedented times, as this only furthers fear and anxiety during an already difficult period in Canadian history. It is no surprise that, even during a pandemic, some individuals and media outlets have chosen to negate and ignore the facts in favour of personal bias and further vilifying vaping.

The reasoning being used to support the statement that vapers are more susceptible to COVID-19 is that lung injury or irritation puts people at greater risk of developing more severe symptoms. While it is true that some vapers have lung irritation, it is important to remember that this is because most vapers are former smokers. Smoking is incredibly damaging to the lungs and recovery is not instantaneous. Clinical studies have shown that while using vaping as a harm reduction tool, the lungs of reformed smokers continue to heal. Thus, the clear conclusion is that it is not the action of vaping itself that is putting people at further risk of severe symptoms from COVID-19, but rather the residual lung damage caused by smoking.

Leading the charge in this misinformation campaign linking COVID-19 and vaping is Professor Stanton Glantz. Mr. Glantz has a long history of personal bias against the vape industry. This is not the first time Mr. Glantz has shown his clear bias through the spread of false information. In fact, the Journal of the American Heart Association was forced to retract a paper in which he had claimed that vaping causes heart attacks, a claim based on what was proven to be faulty research in which Glantz had been involved. Furthermore, at a convention in Ottawa, Glantz indicated that his research showed that for every adult who quit smoking using e-cigarettes, 80 kids started vaping. These are exactly the types of statements that need to be addressed with facts and not personal bias or agendas. Based on the number of adult vapers in Canada who quit smoking using e-cigarettes, his statement would suggest that there are around 13 million Canadian youth vaping meanwhile there are only a little over 4 million children aged 10 – 19 in Canada. Though Mr. Glantz and others have suggested the link between vaping and COVID-19, which has been picked up and spread by various media outlets, Mr. Glantz himself has stated, “there is not enough research or evidence to support a link to COVID-19”. Unfortunately, this admission that there is no evidence to support the link is rarely included in the media reports.

“The scientific community agrees that there is currently no evidence to support the link between vaping and COVID-19. Mr. Glantz’ suggestion that vaping may now be related to cases of the COVID-19 illnesses, with absolutely no evidence to substantiate that claim, is completely irresponsible and puts public health at great risk,” said Darryl Tempest, Executive Director of The Canadian Vaping Association. “The vaping industry stands with all Canadians to ensure that all appropriate measures are being taken to protect public health, while fighting for access to life saving harm reduction products for the 1.1 million vapers across Canada” Tempest concluded.

Research shows that only 3-10% of smokers can successfully quite smoking without the use of an aid. Vaping has been proven to be twice as effective as any other cessation method, as concluded by the British Medical Journal. The suggestion that smokers and vapers should quit immediately to protect themselves against this virus is ridiculous; that is simply not how addiction works. Statistics have always shown extremely low success rates for individuals attempting to quit smoking, particularly prior to the introduction of nicotine vape products. It is highly improbable that individuals will be successful at quitting or staying off combustible tobacco without nicotine vape products during what is already an incredibly stressful time. Health Canada and The Royal College of Physicians have both stated that smokers who switch to vaping will see immediate health improvements and are at significantly less risk of future lung illness than if they had continued to smoke. Unfounded statements linking vaping to COVID-19 as a means of encouraging vapers to stop vaping despite their nicotine dependency will inevitably push vapers back to combustible tobacco.

Dr. Polosa, a world-renowned scientist and researcher on vaping and harm reduction, has indicated that vapers switching back to smoking would cause a rise in acute exacerbation of lung illnesses amongst many individuals who had seen extremely beneficial health impacts from quitting smoking through the use of vape products. Many countries operating on this advice have been treating vape shops as an essential service by allowing them to continue to operate throughout the pandemic while other retailers are being shut down. This decision has been made on the basis that those that return to smoking will cause further damage to their lungs and are thus more likely to experience severe symptoms should they contract COVID-19. The spread of misinformation surrounding vaping is putting further lives at risk during an already dangerous time and simply cannot be tolerated.

About the Canadian Vaping Association

The Canadian Vaping Association (thecva.org) is a registered national, not-for-profit organization, established as the voice for the burgeoning Canadian vaping industry. Founded in 2014, the CVA represents over 300 retail and online vaping businesses in Canada, not including tobacco companies or affiliates. The association is the primary liaison with the federal and provincial governments on all legislative and regulatory issues related to the industry. The primary goal of CVA is to ensure that government regulation is reasonable and practical, through the strategy of professional proactive communication and education supplied bilingually to health officers, media, and elected officials.

Darryl Tempest
The Canadian Vaping Association