Vaping advice is flawed and disastrous for public health
Posted on July 14, 2020
THREE AUSTRALIAN anti-vaping advocates posted an article on The Conversation yesterday supporting further restrictions on nicotine vaping. The article is truly awful. Here are a few reasons why.
The article is fatally flawed by
- Cherry-picking data
Misinformation and false claims
Lack of context for claims
Here are several of the more egregious flaws:
1. “evidence for e-cigarettes helping people quit smoking is inconclusive”
False. Vaping is more effective than nicotine replacement therapy in randomised controlled trials and is increasing quit rates in countries such as the UK and US where it is widely available.
2. "e-cigarette use in US secondary schools increased 78% in 12 months”
More importantly, youth smoking fell in the US by an unprecedented 25% in 2019.
- Vaping is diverting kids from smoking
- Most youth vaping is experimental and short term
- Regular vaping by never-smokers is rare
Nearly all smoke before they vape (88% in the US)
3. “there is no scientific basis for the claim that vaping is 95% harmful”
False. This estimate is based on comprehensive, independent evidence reviews by the UK Royal College of Physicians and Public Health England.
Switching from smoking to vaping leads to
- dramatic reduction in harmful toxins
- substantially reduced 'biomarkers'
- improved health outcomes
4. “the tobacco industry and retail sector promote e-cigarettes”
In the US, promotion is unfettered due to Constitutional barriers. In the UK, advertising is strictly controlled. Australia should follow the UK model.
5. “nicotine is poisonous and toxic”
In the doses used in vaping, nicotine is relatively benign and serious harmful effects are very rare.
According to the UK Royal College of Physicians “it is widely accepted that any long-term hazards of nicotine are likely to be of minimal consequence in relation to ... continued tobacco use”
6. the restrictions are "bad news for the tobacco industry"
Wrong. Vaping is a huge, disruptive threat to the tobacco industry. Restrictions on vaping protect Big Tobacco from competition and lead to more smoking. Whenever vaping is threatened, tobacco stock prices rise and they fall when it is under pressure.
7. "The restrictions will prevent profiteers from addicting young Australians to harmful products"
No. It will be easier for youth to buy a cigarette than a vape. The black market will flourish and freely sell unregulated products to children. Thousands of vapers will return to smoking.
Read a more realistic explanations of what will happen if these new regulations are introduced by Australian toxicologist Dr Jody Morgan in The Conversation last week.
Posted by Colin Mendelsohn, firstname.lastname@example.org