Recently I attended a forum on e-cigarettes, sponsored by a political organization that wanted to educate its attendees about the devices. During the discussion my opponent [from the prohibitionist American Legacy Foundation] repeated the baseless claim that there is no evidence that e-cigarettes help smokers quit.
Author: Brad Rodu
The Monitoring the Future survey shows that past 30-day cigarette use among 12th graders dropped from 16.3% in 2013, to 13.6% in 2014, the largest single-year decline in the survey’s 39-year history (datahere).
The New York Times has added more fuel to the anti-tobacco-harm-reduction fire with a December 4 editorial (here) rehashing the somewhat slanted reporting that appeared in the paper’s news pages on November 30. In two stories that day, the Times explored issues surrounding Swedish Match’s FDA application to change the warnings on its snus products. As I noted (here), “The Times and their quoted experts did a major disservice to their audience; they failed to report the simple truth, that mouth cancer risk for Swedish snus is next to nil.”
The New York Times has published (here) a reasonably accurate portrayal of the Swedish snus experience that I have chronicled for over a decade (here, here, andhere). Reporters Matt Richtel and David Jolly examined Swedish Match’s FDA application to remove the federally mandated mouth cancer and not-safe-alternative warnings from snus products. I have discussed this landmark filing previously (here).
The British government has just released statistics on e-cigarette use (here). The Office for National Statistics reports that e-cigarettes were used by 12% of smokers and 5% of former smokers in the UK during the first quarter of this year, but the rate of use among never smokers was only 0.14%.
Acting U.S. Surgeon General Boris Lushniak recently tweeted, “@OxfordWords #Vape may be #WOTY but the increase in never-smoking youth using e-cigs is a not a trivial story.” The tweet referred to the Oxford English Dictionary’s having designated “vape” as the word of the year, and reflected a CDC report claiming that e-cigarette use among children had increased in 2013. The prevalence of e-cig use among youth who had never smoked was 0.3%.
As noted previously (here), Drs. Karl Fagerström and Tom Eissenberg have described a continuum of dependence among tobacco and nicotine products. They concluded that cigarettes are the most dependence-producing (addictive) product and that smokeless tobacco is intermediate, evidenced by clinical trials showing that quitting cigarette smoking is more difficult than quitting ST.
As early as 2004, various medical journals published articles claiming that small-community smoking bans resulted in nearly immediate reductions in heart disease. For example, the high-profile BMJ reported that hospital admissions for acute myocardial infarction (AMI) declined 40%, from 40 to 24, in Helena, Montana, after implementation of a smoke-free ordinance (here). Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association, reported that AMI admissions dropped 27% “within months” in Pueblo, Colorado (here). Similar reports came from Bowling Green, Ohio (here), Monroe County, Indiana (here) and beyond.
In their war against e-cigarettes, government officials often claim that the devices are a gateway to smoking. CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden asserted (here) that “…many kids are starting out with e-cigarettes and then going on to smoke conventional cigarettes.” The National Cancer Institute last March promoted (here) Dr. Stanton Glantz’s tortured analysis of youth e-cigarette use (discussed here and here). While his data failed to support a gateway effect, his employer, the University of California San Francisco, made the claim anyway (here).
Swedish researchers from several institutions document that snus use is not associated with atrial fibrillation (commonly known as AFib), the most common heart arrhythmia (irregular timing of the heart beat) and a risk factor for stroke (abstract here). The same group previously reported that snus use conferred no significant risk for heart attack (discussed here) and stroke (here).
Rates of smoking and use of other tobacco products among teens are so low that they no longer provide a valid basis for the draconian anti-tobacco policy prescriptions favored by the FDA and CDC.
Nicotine can be detected in a chamber after releasing vapor directly from an e-cigarette, according to a report in Nicotine and Tobacco Research (abstract here) by Roswell Park Cancer Institute investigators. A Carl Phillips parody of the abstract (here) convinced me to review the journal article. Clive Bates also published a scathing critique (here).
The New England Journal of Medicine and authors of a commentary on e-cigarette use have ignored our call for correction of a substantial error regarding e-cigarette use among American schoolchildren in 2011 and 2012. Authors Amy L. Fairchild, Ronald Bayer and James Colgrove of Columbia University double-counted some users in a figure they used to illustrate data from the National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS).
New research confirms earlier findings demonstrating that widespread snus use is tied to reduced rates of smoking. A decade ago I worked with scientists from Sweden’s Umeå University to publish[…]
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