There is a lot of misinformation online about everything. It is really hard to distinguish between what information is true and what is false. Thousands of people online are victims of this misinformation every day.
When it comes to vapes, many anti-vaping groups have been spreading baseless claims that vapes are as harmful as cigarettes. Influential public figures such as billionaire philanthropist Mike Bloomberg have been pushing his anti-vape agenda in order to promote Hale (a smoking cessation tool still in the research phase) which Village Global (a venture capital that Bloomberg is involved with) is interested in.
Moreover, there have been studies with the inherent agenda of showing vapes as harmful, such as the article in the World Journal of Oncology that was recently retracted, claiming that nicotine vapers face roughly the same cancer risk as cigarette smokers. Concerns have been raised about the article’s methodology, source data processing, including statistical analysis, and the reliability of the conclusions since its publication. The authors failed to provide justified explanations and evidence for the inquiries, hence the article was subsequently retracted at the request of the editor-in-chief. Besides this, a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association that claimed that vapes doubled the risk of heart attack was found to be unreliable.
The publications of such studies suggest that the peer review process is biased against vaping, favoring articles that highlight its potential risks even when there is no supporting scientific evidence.
So what can be done to tackle misinformation?
Verifying what is fake and what is real information can be a challenge, as each piece of information needs to be verified manually by checking how authentic the source is. For example, the article by the World Journal of Oncology, that we mentioned above may look as if it’s a legit study, only when we do further research by looking at different reliable sources can we figure out that the study had a preconceived perception that vaping is bad, and that had tainted the results of the study along with other flaws.
So, let’s make sure that we don’t believe everything we see online and do proper research before believing or sharing information online.