Gateway to Smoking

Vaper’s Vortex

June 17, 2016


“Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”


The FDA and the CDC have spearheaded a seemingly unstoppable campaign. Built on the Gateway to Smoking foundation. Well organized. Well executed. Well funded. The only problem is that their campaign is based not on credible science, but instead on FDA and CDC dependence on funding from Big Pharma and Big Tobacco.

The FDA tells us it “does not currently have sufficient data about e-cigarettes and similar products to fully determine what effects they have on the public health.”

How much data could the FDA, the CDC, or any other “public health” entity possibly need to determine that e-cigarettes are a safer alternative to conventional cigarettes? Insufficient data is not a justification. It’s a diversion. What are they hiding?

Within the last few days, the University of Southern California published a study in the journal Pediatrics. The predictable and intentional result was a media blitz complete with alarmist headlines like “Teens who vape e-cigs ‘six times more likely to smoke cigarettes!” and “Vaping is a gateway to smoking!”

This “study” makes no contribution to science. This “study” makes no contribution to improving public health. This “study” is propaganda, bought and paid for by the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration Center for Tobacco Products.

Perhaps the FDA and NCI should consider the response to their study by internationally recognized tobacco control experts.

Prof. Ann McNeill, Professor of Tobacco Addiction at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London

“If the conclusion that e-cigarettes are a gateway to smoking cigarettes was true “we would be seeing large increases in tobacco smoking, but instead we are seeing marked declines in youth tobacco smoking since e-cigarettes came on the market. This suggests e-cigarettes are actually helping young people not to smoke tobacco cigarettes (something this study did not even consider).”

Peter Hajek, Director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit at Queen Mary University of London

“The authors misinterpret their findings. Like several previous studies of this type, this one just shows that people who try things, try things.”

“To assess whether e-cigarette experimentation by adolescents encourages smoking, one has to examine whether an increase in e-cigarette experimentation is accompanied by an increase in smoking on the population level. Such data are available and they show that as e-cigarette experimentation increased, smoking rates in young people have gone down. In fact, the decline in youth smoking over the past few years has been faster than ever before.”

Michael Siegel, Professor at Boston University School of Public Health

“This study is virtually meaningless in terms of its evaluation of the “gateway” hypothesis.”

“In addition, the study counted anyone who had ever puffed a cigarette as being a smoker. So theoretically, a subject could have had a single puff of an e-cigarette and hated it, and then had a single puff of a cigarette and hated it, and they would be considered someone who initiated smoking because of first becoming addicted to vaping.”

“In fact, the strongest argument against the paper’s interpretation of its findings is their inconsistency with the population-based data. If youth who experiment with e-cigarettes really were six times more likely to initiate smoking, then given the high level of experimentation, the observed rate of youth smoking would certainly be substantially higher than revealed by the Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Youth smoking rates would not have experienced a 41% decline, concomitant with a 24-times increase in e-cigarette experimentation, if e-cigarette use were really a substantial promoter of smoking initiation.”

Prof Neil McKeganey, Founding Director, Centre for Drug Misuse Research, University of Glasgow

Prof McKeganey speaking at the Global Forum on Nicotine in Warsaw Poland, June 17, 2016:

“There was very little indication amongst the young people interviewed that e-cigarettes were resulting in an increased likelihood of young people smoking. In fact the majority we interviewed, including those who were vaping, perceived smoking in very negative terms and saw vaping as being entirely different to smoking.”

Jacob Sullum, Contributor to Forbes

“This study does not come close to confirming the hypothesis that teenagers who otherwise never would have smoked get addicted to nicotine by vaping and ultimately progress to conventional cigarettes. It does not show that any of the teenagers vaped enough to get hooked on nicotine (or even that the e-liquid they used contained nicotine). It does not show that teenagers who tried vaping and subsequently tried smoking liked either of them, let alone that they developed a long-lasting, life-threatening tobacco habit. Most crucially, it does not show that the availability of e-cigarettes had any impact on teenagers’ subsequent decisions to try the real thing.”

The FDA, CDC and all the other alphabet non-profits (AHA, ALA, ACS, CTFK, ad nauseum) may succeed in banning vaping products in the U.S. But their success would not be the result of insufficient data. It would not be the result of protecting public health. It would not be the result of credible science.

If they succeed, it will be the result of money, power and rampant corruption. There oughta be a law.


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Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

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