As Governments and people worldwide grapple with an unprecedented global crisis, there is no doubt but that historians of the future will look back at these months and analyse in detail how we responded.
History will reflect positively on the sacrifices and bravery of many, particularly the front-line workers in our health and emergency services. But it will take a much more grim view of those vested interests who looked at this crisis as an opportunity to push an anti-health agenda.
When tobacco smoking becomes nothing but a note in these same history books, I’m certain that e-cigarettes will be identified as the critical catalyst for change. These life-saving tools have already helped millions of smokers to quit, and will help millions more if given the chance.
But in these moments of panic, the campaigners who have been trying for years to ban e-cigarettes have redoubled their efforts. Without any evidence, they are trying to connect e-cigarette vapour with the spread of Coronavirus, and trying to tell vapers that they are at an even greater risk.
A series of academics and public health groups – Roberto Sussman from the Institute for Nuclear Sciences, National University of México UNAM and Carmen Escrig from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain, Konstantinos Farsalinos, Cardiologist and research fellow at the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center in Athens, Greece, Dr. Michael Siegel, from the Boston University School of Public Health and many others – have come out to reassure vapers. As Public Health England’s Director of Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Rosanna O’Connor said in March:
There is currently no evidence that coronavirus can be caught from exposure to e-cigarette vapour.
Let there be no doubt about it – this fear-mongering will worry vapers, and will undoubtedly drive some back to smoking.
In these testing times, many who have quit smoking may seek the old comfort of a cigarette, and risk falling back into addiction. Adult ex-smokers must continue to be able to access e-cigarettes and vapers – in stores and online – to help them continue on their journey away from tobacco.
When this pandemic passes, we will all have an opportunity to reflect – did we play our part in protecting public health? Or did we share misinformation that will ultimately cost lives?
At the World Vapers’ Alliance, we know we’ll be on the right side of history.