• April 21, 2024

Don’t panic!

Four scientists have co-authored a study debunking some of the most pervasive myths about the dangers electronic cigarettes pose to young people, according to a piece by Guy Bentley published at washingtonexaminer.com.

Bentley says the study is a wide-ranging critique of former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy’s 2016 report on e-cigarettes and young people that had added fresh momentum to a moral panic over youth vaping.

Fears of young people experimenting with e-cigarettes had since been used as a justification for higher taxes, tighter regulations, and de facto bans on vapor products, Bentley wrote.

This was despite research showing that e-cigarettes posed just a fraction of the risks of traditional tobacco cigarettes and the growing body of evidence that they helped adults quit smoking.

By labeling youth vaping a ‘major public health concern’, Murthy’s report had given an air of credibility to the more extreme parts of the anti-vaping crowd.

But a study published on September 6 in the journal Harm Reduction had served as a much-needed corrective to the hysteria that had pervaded the public debate on e-cigarettes in the wake of Murthy’s report.

First off, the study conceded Murthy was correct to observe there were several hundred percent increases in the number of youths who had tried e-cigarettes from 2011 to 2015. But the authors point out this observation obscured the more important measure in terms of public health, which was how frequently youths were using e-cigarettes.

The data showed youth vaping was ‘either infrequent or experimental’. Only a tiny proportion of young people who reported using e-cigarettes were doing so on a regular basis.

Bentley’s piece is at: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/teen-vaping-is-not-a-public-health-crisis-despite-the-moral-panic/article/2633559