Hannity caught vaping on air, something that has ‘unknown long term side effects’ (just like why Fox hosts tout avoiding COVID vaccines)

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Cable commentator Sean Hannity became the latest TV personality to get caught on air in an awkward situation (see also here and here) — appearing on air using a controversial product that has documented instances of respiratory damage and questionable affects on future health even as his own network rallies against COVID-19 vaccines for “unknown long term side effects.”

Returning from a break on the March 18, 2021, edition of “Hannity” on the conservative commentary cable network owned by Fox Media, Hannity could be seen puffing on what appeared to be a vaping device of some sort.

At one point a burst of vapor appeared to come out the end of it.

He was initially looking down but then appeared to glance off camera and either noticed himself on a return monitor or someone signaled that he was on the air and he quickly yanked the device out of his mouth.

He glanced around a few times, scratched his ear and then said “uh oh” and started the segment as if nothing happened.

The segment was ironically titled “Villain of the Day” — with the interesting juxtaposition that movie and TV villains are often depicted as smoking or sitting in smoke filled rooms.

In this case, it was actually two democrats he was calling out — U.S. Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell.

It appears that Hannity was broadcast from outside his normal home in Fox’s Studio J — likely at home, hence why he was able to vape.

In New York State, where Fox’s main studios and offices, are located, vaping products are categorized under “e-cigarettes” and, while the law doesn’t technically consider them tobacco products, they are banned from use in most public places, including workplaces, which a news studio would like be categorized under. New York City laws follow similar guidelines.

Vaping products and their ingredients vary greatly, but research has shown that aerosols from many of these products can form formaldehyde and benzene, which are known to cause cancer, as well as heavy metals such as nickel, tin and lead, which can be harmful to humans in some quantities. 

There is less research available about the long term health effects of vaping products simply because they’re comparatively newer than most other  products inhaled recreationally. Many tout them as a “safer” alternative to tobacco products such as cigarettes and chewing tobacco, but many medical professionals disagree with this.

In other words, Hannity, whose network has questioned the COVID-19 vaccine over — among other things — its “long term effects” (a common talking point for those against the vaccine) and spread misleading information about it, is apparently is using a product that has unknown long term consequences but with significant evidence that it can cause issues even in the near term.

Additional research and documented cases have also shown that vaping products cause significant damage to the lungs, which is a significant concern with COVID-19 and doctors have notably placed smokers (and in some cases anyone who has ever smoked in their life and not just long term smokers) into higher risk for serious COVID-19 complications. In some states, smokers are higher on vaccine priority lists.

From 2019 to 2020, 27 people died and about 2,700 people suffered injuries, mostly in their respiratory system, during an outbreak of illnesses linked to vaping, though many of the cases were traced back to specific retailers and manufacturers.

Hannity said earlier this year he plans to get the COVID-19 vaccine but also said on air that it should be an individual decision that comes down to personal choice.

In other words, he’s defending the right of U.S. citizens to make personal medical decisions privately — one of the key foundations the landmark Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision used to uphold the right for women to have abortions, a practice most Fox hosts are against.

Fox founder Rupert Murdoch also got the shot in December 2020 in the U.K. and the company has pushed plans to return most workers to offices until at least September, even as its on air mouthpieces have declared the pandemic a “hoax” and that COVID-19 is no worse than the flu.