Public Health Officials Mislead on Vaping and Smoking

    The CDC and FDA continue to call e-cigs "tobacco products" to create fear


    Burying the truth

    American public health officials continued to bury the truth about e-cigs and vaping in a press release about new data on teenage tobacco use issued Thursday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products continue to call e-cigs “tobacco products” precisely so they can panic the public about their use, and conflate their risks with truly dangerous combustible tobacco.

    High school smoking is down 41% since 2011

    “Overall tobacco use by middle and high school students has not changed since 2011,” states the press release lead. According to data taken from the 2015 National Youth Tobacco Survey, 16 percent of high school students were “current users” of e-cigarettes, making them the most popular tobacco product for the second time.

    “Current use” itself is a controversial concept. It simply refers to anyone who has taken a single puff on a vapor product in the last 30 days, and makes no attempt to separate regular users from experimenters.

    While the press release mentions it in passing, no emphasis was placed on the real story. Smoking of combustible cigarettes declined from almost 16 percent in 2011 to just 9.3 percent last year. Fewer high school students smoke cigarettes than ever before.

    Response from the American Vaping Association

    In a press release of its own, the American Vaping Association issued a statement from president Gregory Conley. “The CDC’s staggeringly dishonest claim that tobacco use has not declined since 2011 relies on the deceptive characterization of vapor products as ‘tobacco products.’ The agency is abusing definitions in an attempt to alarm the public and generate headlines. Vapor products contain no tobacco and many do not even contain nicotine. Indeed, the 2015 Monitoring the Future survey found that only approximately 20% of past month youth e-cigarette users reported vaping nicotine.“

    Vapers know too well the tactic of creating public fear by confusing vapor product and tobacco use. Will the mainstream American press wake up and start asking the CDC and FDA some hard questions about their tactics?

    Jim McDonald
    Smokers created vaping without any help from the tobacco industry or anti-smoking crusaders, and vapers have the right to keep innovating to help themselves. My goal is to provide clear, honest information about the challenges vaping faces from lawmakers, regulators, and brokers of disinformation. I recently joined the CASAA board, but my opinions aren’t necessarily CASAA’s, and vice versa. You can find me on Twitter @whycherrywhy