The Sound of Silence is Broken

Vaper’s Vortex

July 30, 2015


“While it is possible that some adolescents are using e-cigarettes instead of cigarettes, our data suggest that e-cigarettes may be recruiting new tobacco product users who might not have used cigarettes.”


Have you noticed? In the aftermath of months of daily, non-stop and often heated debate, protagonists and antagonists alike have fallen strangely silent.

An eerie hush has fallen over the debate. It’s almost as if everyone is holding their breath. The tension is almost palpable. Waiting. Wondering. Worrying. Watching. When will it come? What will it say? Who will be the winners? Who the losers?

The FDA’s 2015 regulatory agenda set a June deadline for the final deeming regulations. A published report on May 31st, one day before the June deadline, quoted FDA Spokesman Michael Felberbaum saying the agency “hopes to publish the final rule this summer.” Using August 31 as the end of summer, it appears highly unlikely that deadline will be met.

Once completed by the FDA, the proposed final regulation must be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget for their review. While the contents of the proposed regulation will be confidential, submission to the OMB will be public record. No submission has been made. And OMB review normally takes several months. More waiting, watching and wondering.

Suddenly, in the midst of this virtual vacuum, the University of Southern California releases a new study which was published in the journal Pediatrics. A cross-sectional survey of 2,084 students – mostly 11th and 12th graders.

Lead author Jessica Barrington-Trimis:

“While it is possible that some adolescents are using e-cigarettes instead of cigarettes, our data suggest that e-cigarettes may be recruiting new tobacco product users who might not have used cigarettes.”

Heeeeere we go! The media, starved for anything that has anything to do with vaping, went on a feeding frenzy. Forbes, NBC News, U.S. News and World Report, MedPageToday, Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post and dozens of secondary media outlets leaped on the opportunity. The problem with a feeding frenzy? It always results in crap. Here are some of the headlines:

A recent study proved that teens smoking e-cigarettes are more likely to take up cigarettes

Are E-Cigarettes’ Popularity Causing More Teens to Smoke?

E-Cigarettes Popular with Teens Could Lead to Tobacco Smoking

Vaping Now May Lead to Smoking Later

Teens Using E-Cigarettes More Likely To Take Up Smoking Tobacco Cigarettes

This study was federally funded by a grant from the NIH and the FDA’s CTP. That fact alone makes the findings of this and any other federally funded study unfailingly predictable.

As is the case with all federally funded studies, “use” is defined as a single puff within the last thirty days. In the “Discussion” and “Conclusions” sections of the study, the term “use” is used more than 70 times.

Federally funded studies are expected to take advantage of key buzzwords.

“These results raise the possibility that the generally more favorable social perceptions of e-cigarettes could contribute to the ‘renormalization’ of tobacco products generally.”

Interpretation of results need to follow “federal guidelines”.

“…suggest that e-cigarettes could lead to nicotine dependence in adolescents who would not otherwise used tobacco products.”

“Research is needed to determine whether use of e-cigarettes by nonsmoking adolescents could function as a gateway to combustible cigarette use, leading to increases in cigarette use, either by renormalizing smoking and the social acceptability of smoking or by reducing the perceived risks associated with initiation of use as a result of exposure to marketing of e-cigarettes as a cessation aid.”

This study raises at least one valid concern. More than 40% of current and past e-cigarette users stated they had never tried combustible cigarettes. That warrants further research into the risk of never smokers developing nicotine dependence from vaping.


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

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.

2 thoughts on “The Sound of Silence is Broken

  1. Dave.

    This is a very interesting article. It looks like it could become a serious problem. As you already know I don’t condone the use of vaping products by minors. While this article is filled with innuendos and suppositions it does point to a problem that could cause concern. I’m speaking about the use of nicotine by those who never used nicotine.

    Jerry

  2. I agree Jerry. It was just a matter of time before nonsmokeing youth started experimenting with e-cigs. The big question is the addictiveness of e-cigs. Given the smoking cessation success using e-cigs, there is some indication that they are not nearly as addictive as cigarettes. Probably because e-cigs don’t contain MAOIs. But how much less addictive has yet to be established and unfortunately may only be determined by longer term use.

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