E-Cigarette Vendors Suing Government for Exaggerating Risks
South Korean E-Cigarette vendors are taking their government to court over how vaping has been handled.
One country decided to act against their government in regard to how vaping has been negatively portrayed. The Korea Electronic Cigarette Association (KECA), made up of around 4000 E-Cigarette vendors, has recently filed a lawsuit against the Korean government for allegedly causing financial damage to small business owners due to misinformation.
Claims of the government using incorrect information fuel the lawsuit
The KECA has filed a lawsuit claiming financial damage due to press releases having been distributed, recommending South Koreans to stop using E-Cigarettes in October 2019. Around this time, the US FDA had sent out a notice banning the sale of E-Liquids and E-Cigarettes due to a spate of EVALI cases.
In 2019, the CDC reported 530 confirmed cases of severe lung diseases and eight deaths in the US, related to E-Cigarettes leading to the ban. Of course, this news generated shock around the world and many governments sought to mirror their actions, including South Korea.
According to the Korea Biomedical Review, the KECA spoke on this matter, “However, at the time of the announcement of the MOHW’s recommendation, there was only one suspected case of lung damage in Korea, and even the suspected case came from a person who smoked tobacco.”
A paper then published in 2021 by the Journal of Korean Medical Science (JKMS), reported that no case of severe pneumonia or lung damage among E-Cigarette users, had been recorded in Korea. And it didn’t stop there with the KECA calling out other studies which they claimed formed false perceptions on E-Cigarettes.
The Korean government caused “economic and psychological damage”
Previously, the government itself had admitted that vaping is safer than smoking according to the Ministry of Good and Drug Safety (MFDS), based on test results in 2017. Despite this, the US’s FDA managed to sway their decision and create an ad campaign that suggested smoking and vaping were equally harmful.
In fact, a 2021 market report showed the effects of the government’s ban on E-Cigarettes. Before 2020, it was noted that South Korea was one of the world’s fastest-growing E-Cigarette markets. But after the government urged the public to refrain from vaping, the industry was hit hard. A move which was only reinforced as the South Korean Army were banned from using and possessing E-Liquids at its bases, a notable message to the public.
How the UK continues to lead the way in the vaping industry
Back in 2015, it was first announced by Public Health England that their review on vaping once again found vaping to be 95% less harmful than smoking. Since then, there have been countless studies and claims that have tried to undermine these findings.
And now the Office of Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) has released an updated evidence review. Unsurprisingly, they have confirmed once again that vaping is indeed 95% less harmful than smoking cigarettes.
One key finding that was noted in the review, was the level of toxicant exposure in biomarkers. The evidence suggested significantly lower exposure to harmful substances from vaping compared to smoking, as shown by biomarkers associated with the risk of cancer, and respiratory and cardiovascular conditions.
Not only this but short-term second-hand exposure showed no significant increase in toxicant biomarkers among those who did not smoke/vape.
This latest review only further highlights the discrepancies of studies promoting misinformation. Perhaps, depending on the outcome of South Korea’s lawsuit, more vendors across the globe may take up action against their governments. Let us know in the comments below what you think.