Contributed by Paul Johnson
That’s what Breathe Free Alaska, the Alaska Quit Line and other health organizations across the country are saying. Why? Because of two new studies recently published.
One addresses the claim that modern vapor products are less satisfying and as or more dangerous than combustible tobacco. The other dismisses vaping as a supposed “gateway” to smoking cigarettes. Both studies contradict the FDA and health organizations’ previous and ongoing claims stating these supposed facts, leaving egg on their faces. To add insult to injury, both studies were funded by the National Institute for Health, the study funding mechanism for the FDA. I suppose if I shot myself in the foot, I’d want to keep it quiet too, especially if I did it with your tax dollars.
The first study performed by the University of Buffalo, published March 7, 2017, states in part, “Those who try to exaggerate fears of vaping products should consider their role in keeping smokers smoking. Telling people only that no product is ‘safe’ is an irresponsible message. Instead, public health experts need to continue stressing the well-documented dangers of cigarettes and what is likely to be true about differential risks. Those smokers who have tried only cigalike products should know that they may be able to find a more satisfying substitute for smoking in other vaping products. The focus should be giving up smoking completely first. After that, we would also encourage giving up vaping, provided it doesn’t cause a return to smoking.”
The second study was also performed by the University of Buffalo in conjunction with the University of Michigan and was published March 14, 2017. Lynn Kozlowski and co-author Kenneth Warner, both former deans of their respective public health schools write, “Our analysis focused on the risks for moving from e-cigarettes to cigarettes. There is little evidence that those who have never smoked cigarettes or never used other tobacco products and first try e-cigarettes will later move on to cigarette usage with great frequency or daily, regular smoking.”
Their paper highlights several shortcomings in studies that appear to show a link between e-cigarette use and subsequent smoking. For example, many studies use misleading measures for what is actually considered smoking. “Measures of ‘at least one puff in the past six months’ can mean little more than the experimenting vaper was curious how cigarettes compared,” Kozlowski says. Warner adds that in one study, only four e-cigarette users who previously hadn’t smoked reported smoking cigarettes when measured again at a later time. “All of them said they’d smoked only one or two cigarettes in the past twelve months. None of the studies was designed to be able to follow up smoking intensity at a later date.”
Kozlowski goes on to say, “The public deserves accurate information on the health risks of e-cigarettes versus cigarettes. From the best evidence to date, e-cigarettes are much less dangerous than cigarettes. The public has become confused about this.” Warner adds, “The persistent focus on the potential risks to kids has caused adults’ understanding of the risks of e-cigarettes to worsen over time. This is likely discouraging adult smokers from using e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool.”
I understand why BFA/AQL wouldn’t want the whole truth to come out. That’s not the way to support a purely ideological campaign of any kind. What I don’t understand is how Ms. Hample, Ms. Crowley Bell and all of the others they’ve rallied together can sleep at night.
Millions of lives are at stake in the U.S. alone. If you or a loved one is one of them, get off of the stinks by trying vaping. It’s at least 95% safer than combustibles. It’s not a “gateway”. Your overall health will improve and as an added bonus, it’s considerably less expensive too.