Fox News’ Shep Smith did not hold back in expressing his outrage over the vaping industry peddling problematic claims of safety and marketing products to children during a contentious interview with industry lobbyist Tony Abboud on Wednesday.
“Do you have a problem representing an industry that’s addicting kids to nicotine?” Smith asked during the contentious exchange.
Smith pressed Abboud, who serves as the executive director of lobbying organization Vapor Tech Association, on the industry’s claims that vaping and e-cigarettes are “safer” alternatives to smoking, noting that the American Lung Association has said no long-term studies have been able to make such a conclusion. When Abboud said that “we don’t know” if vaping or e-cigarettes results in individuals inhaling cancer-causing substances, Smith interrupted.
“We do know that with nicotine,” Smith said. “It doesn’t feel like your industry is being completely safe with us when you say, ‘We don’t know.’ We do know! It definitely pumps carcinogens into our bodies. That is undeniable.”
The Fox News host went on to compare the vaping industry’s marketing tactics to those of the tobacco industry, adding that his mother died from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, after smoking for 50 years.
“For decades, there was an industry that hooked generations of people on a substance that kills us,” Smith said. “And people didn’t know, oh this is going to kill me. Like my mom didn’t know, I’m going to smoke for 50 years and then I’m going to die with bad COPD, because nobody told her back at the beginning.”
Hundreds of individuals across 33 states have fallen ill this year with a mysterious vaping-related lung disease. Health officials in Illinois and Wisconsin have traced first reports of the illnesses in those states back to April, according to The Washington Post. The first death was reported in Illinois in August. To date, six individuals, each in a different state, have died after contracting the illness.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that it has not yet determined a cause for the illnesses but all reported cases involve individuals who have a history of using e-cigarette products.
In response to the outbreak, state health officials and various associations, including the American Lung Association, have recommended people stop vaping and using e-cigarettes as the CDC conducts its investigation into the outbreak. President Donald Trump’s administration said on Wednesday that it planned to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in response to the illnesses.