Last updated on January 1st, 2020
The Junk Science Emerges When the CDC/FDA Study on Youth and Electronic Cigarettes is Analyzed
Back in 2014, the CDC and the FDA formulated a conclusion based on 2011 and 2012 surveys of middle and high school students in the US. The conclusion was that teen e-cigarette use had doubled.
The same report stated that 20 percent of 6-12 years olds tried e-cigarettes but had never tried tobacco.
The report was pretty alarming, in fact, the alarms did go off, causing a media feeding frenzy that included much political posturing; sending mothers into hysterics, clutching their babies tightly to their breasts.
The outcry also called for the elimination of e-cigarette flavors, ecig advertising and the public banning of e-cigarettes.
Kids and Ecigs – Scientists Respond to False Gateway Claims
Dr. Carl V. Phillips, Scientific Director of The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA) took a hard look at the CDC’s statistics and came up with some eye-opening accusations which I’ll refer to in this post.
According to the CDC’s report, in 2012, 2.1 percent of kids (6-12 year olds) had “used” e-cigarettes. Does “used” mean they took one puff, or does it mean that they are now “users”? No distinction was made. Still 2.1% is not an alarming statistic considering the curious nature of that age group.
Then came the “fact” that 20 percent of that group who never smoked became e-cigarette “users”. Forget the true fact that this number represents less than 1% of the population studied! Let’s also not ignore the fact that they called any kid who tried even one puff on an ecig over the past 30 days a “user”.
No mention was made of the scientific studies by the world’s most respected tobacco researcher, Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, cardiologist at the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center in Athens Greece. His reports on e-cigarettes support the fact that they are not a ‘gateway’ to smoking.
The U.S. media reports that spewed news of the CDC/FDA junk science study turned into an impressive bit of political bravado that encouraged more anti-vaping news stories.
Politically Driven Bravado
Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut declared that the electronic cigarette industry is willingly attempting to turn children into a generation of smokers. This postulation was based on the fact that less than one half of 1% of kids tried e-cigs without ever having tried conventional cigarettes.
Here’s a chart from the University of Michigan showing the rapid decline in teen smoking.
The above chart shows that the rate of decline in smoking amongst 12th graders is 4 times greater than it was in 2010, and 3 times greater for those youths that smoked daily.
Here’s Another Fact: By age 15, 50% of teens have “used” alcohol (and not necessarily the fruity varieties). They also use marijuana, the sale of which is legal to adults only in limited states.
All that aside, does that mean alcohol makers are targeting kids? I’m sure if the CDC and the FDA had that on their political agenda they would conveniently formulate another compelling junk science study.
Old News -Sept. 17th , 2014
Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) in Britain has confirmed that vaping among young people is very rare. Only 1.8 percent of youth regularly used ecigs and 90 percent of that small group had been previous smokers before they started vaping.
More Recent News – April 17th, 2018 – Former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb testified at a House Appropriations subcommittee, saying there was “excessive use of e-cigarettes among youths”…the danger being that these youths would eventually start smoking cigarettes.
The Commissioner stated that the “first steps” will be to target retailers selling e-cigarettes to minors; levying warning letters and, if necessary, heavy fines. Although it was not mentioned in this announcement, Dr. Gottlieb has said the FDA is seriously considering banning e-liquids that are flavored with anything other than tobacco.
It is not uncommon for e-cigarette prohibitionists to use the justification of “saving our children” to recommend regulations that will destroy the world’s efforts of Tobacco Harm Reduction.
In actuality, according to the CDC National Youth Tobacco Survey, data confirmed that e-cigarette experimentation by youth since 2011 has not produced an epidemic of smoking. In fact, the decline in youth smoking accelerated to a record low rate.
Most Recent Report
An April 2019 a report out of New Zealand showed that in the past 10 years, fewer students in New Zealand are smoking, while vaping by 14 and 15-year olds remains equally low and is falling. This disputes other claims of rise in teenage vaping. The New Zealand showed a slight drop in the overall number of teens vaping, as well as the non-smoking teens picking them up.