Vaping misinformation aired on National TV

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On ITV’s flagship show This Morning, a Dr appeared on an episode aired in July and freely said that “Vaping causes Popcorn Lung” and the millions of E-Cig users in the UK are putting themselves at risk. If you know the legislations surrounding vaping, or if you’ve read any of my previous articles, you’ll know that this isn’t the case thanks to TPD legislations putting a firm stop to it.

Misinformation about Vaping has always been spread by numerous people on different platforms such as tabloid newspapers, or website articles. I’ve previously published an article about the Risks of Vaping and whether or not they are fact or fiction which is worth checking out after you’ve read this. But it’s not often spoken about on prime daytime television, that is until recently.

A fully qualified Dr making such bold, and frankly not true claims on national TV could carry massive damage to the reputation of the vaping industry, and an investigation was launched to the General Medical Council regarding this, but no further action was taken against the Dr for her claims. Let’s take a look in to this in more detail.

this morning screengrab
Picture credit: ITV

July 2022: Dr Sara Kayat speaks on This Morning

Dr Sara Kayat is This Morning’s resident GP, and often appears in features on the show discussing people’s health and highlighting subjects surrounding Lung and Respiratory problems people may be facing. She’s a very well-known and respected Doctor and has featured on other TV shows across the UK Networks.

On the 18th of July 2022 episode, the topic of Youth Vaping numbers increasing was bought up and Dr Sara discussed about the “risks” of Vaping and using an E-Cigarette, and said:

“The most concerning risks are lung injuries. There’s a condition called Popcorn lung which is an inflammatory lung disease that can be caused by Vaping”

What Dr Sara is referencing to is an outbreak back in 2016 where people were contracting “popcorn lung” from vaping due to additives in vape juice. Let me give a quick refresh of the whole incident if you weren’t already aware.

Popcorn Lung and Vaping

Turning back the hands of time to 2016, and “news” was printed in tabloids and on news channels that vaping was causing people to contract Bronchiolitis Obliterans or more affectionately known as “Popcorn Lung”. The nickname being coined from a number of workers within a Popcorn factory started suffering from the condition.

This was because the factory was using the sweetener called Diacetyl, which is used to give a sweet buttery taste on popcorn. The workers were ingesting the fumes from this sweetener and unfortunately contracting the disease. On investigation, it was then found that some vape juice manufacturers were using Diacetyl in their vape juice recipes as a sweetener.

However, thanks to the Tobacco Products Directive bought in by the government in 2016, Diacetyl was one of the forefront ingredients that would be banned for good from being added in to Vape juice. If any companies do try it, they won’t pass TPD regulatory checks, and the e-liquid would never make it on to the UK market to be sold.

All of our e-liquids we make at Vape69 undergo rigorous testing and compliance checks to ensure they are to the standard expected of the TPD legislations. Therefore you can buy our juices with peace of mind that nothing nasty is hidden in there that shouldn’t be. 

Cancer Research UK steps in over Dr Sara Kayat’s statement

Almost immediately after Dr Sara Kayat’s statement on This Morning, Cancer Research UK came out and publicly said

“Diacetyl was banned in e-cigarette liquids under the Tobacco Products Directive in 2016. E-Cigarettes do not cause the lung condition known as Popcorn Lung”

This was massive for the Vaping world to have such a well renowned body such as Cancer Research coming straight in to defend vaping. Cancer Research UK decided to follow this up with a formal complaint to the General Medical Council. they detailed the statements made by Dr Kayat, and evidence to back it up to prove that Dr Kayat was “spreading ill-informed opinions on daytime television”

GMC have recently released their reply to this complaint, let’s have a look

General Medical Council replies to the complaint

General Medical Council replied to Cancer Research UK’s formal complaint, and it doesn’t make for good reading. Their reply reads;

“We have carefully considered your complaint, and while we appreciate your reasons for writing to us, we don’t feel that these are issues that would warrant further GMC action being taken. We are sorry if this is not the outcome that you were hoping for. We oversee medical education; we give entry to the Register for those suitably qualified; we advise on good medical practice while registered; and we remove or restrict registration in response to fitness to practise concerns where there may be a risk to patient safety.

An investigation can only be opened if the concerns raised are so serious that the doctor’s fitness to practise medicine is called into question to such an extent that action may be required to stop or restrict the way in which they can work to protect future patient safety.

Our colleague has said that their understanding of the current evidence would suggest that what the doctor is saying regarding popcorn lung is incorrect, although they have confirmed that they are not an expert in this field. They have said that the comments by itself, however, in one interview would not in their view amount to a serious concern. Overall, we don’t consider it is inaccurate that the doctor has made comments about the potential risks of vaping

Quite a disheartening reply to the complaint in my eyes. It seems it’s just been brushed under the carpet with nothing else to be said or any follow up. They concluded their statement suggesting if CR-UK were unhappy, they should consider writing to the Producers of the TV Show regarding comments made. 

Misinformation needs to stop

As I said, misinformation is consistently spread about Vaping, and it needs to stop. Having a medical professional appear on national TV at prime time viewing hours giving misinformation out is really damaging to the Vaping industry. This could put smokers who would be looking at quitting and start vaping off the idea due to the fear factor falsely installed in people by this ill information being aired.

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