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The Media Frenzy Of The Myth That Ecigs Lead To Smoking

By Matt McConnell

Tuesday September 15, 2015
ecigs do not lead to smoking

There were 728 young non-smokers between 16 and 26 years old surveyed. A total of 11 of them tried an ecig before trying a cigarette. Based on these survey results ‘researchers’ claim that ecigs lead to teen smoking and the media goes haywire. Welcome to the anti-vaping gong show. Smoke, mirrors and manipulations are preventing the public from understanding the truth about electronic cigarettes.

As a result of this study, headlines across the country have screamed that ecigs lead to teen smoking. Reporters far and wide have launched scary headlines as the war on ecigs rages on and Big Tobacco squeals in delight. Every major media outlet ran the story. Few, if any, of them actually provided the details about the data they merely repeated the conclusions as reported by the researchers. In short, the media behaved as predicted and the result was a successful smearing of electronic cigarette technology.

Make no mistake, the purpose of this study was to find a way to claim that ecigs lead to smoking. Chances are, most ECCR readers are vapers and know full well the problematic fallacy of such a claim. This study is not for you, it is designed to misinform and scare the general public. Considering the jaw dropping number of headlines this story has received, I have no doubt that the misinformation campaign has added a another notch to its belt and put more smokers lives at risk.

So 11 people between 16 and 26 used an ecig before trying a cigarette. Do you really believe that it was the ecig that caused the attempt? Or was it curiosity? Do teens try vodka because in comes in a dessert flavor? The real question is did they become tobacco smokers afterward. Looking at the data, six became regular cigarette smokers and five became “susceptible non-smokers” meaning that they were at greater risk of becoming smokers. The risk factors involved were present before trying an ecig but only factored in at the conclusion of data analysis.

It seems that every teen or young person that tries an ecigarette is considered to be a non-susceptible non-smoker. But, after they try an ecig suddenly all of the pre-existing risk factors for smoking can now magically be applied. When one can be so selective with data application the sky is virtually the limit when it comes to arriving at a conclusion. In a way, this survey result really is in large part magic.

Teen Smoking And eCigs

teen smoking and teen vaping

The effort to connect teen smoking to vaping is a familiar one. It has been part of the anti-vaping playbook for years now. Manipulating data and using magic tricks is not helping anyone find the truth.

Yep, they used a magic formula. You see, every teen or young person was considered a non-susceptible non-smoker. After they try an ecig, it they try a cigarette and they have susceptibility factors, magically those factors then count towards them showing an inclination to transition to smoking.

This magic trick is not done by slight of hand rather they use small print but it is still the creation of an illusion that is the end result. They do it very well.

Here’s what they did. They converted basic data into endless calculations to add unneeded garnish and confusion to what should be a basic proposition. Survey data does not need to be so complicated so why do it? They do this for one reason. To confuse and to make it look like what they are doing is scientifically sophisticated. They are hoping that we will look at their fancy presentation and be awed by their intelligence and lab coats so as to not even question them.

How about this. How about we do an honest study? Why is that so wild a concept? You know what, it is exactly like Donald Trump says. Lobbyists give money to politicians expecting ROI. Interest groups, in this case DHHS, fund these studies expecting ROI. It’s a gong show. It’s a total disaster.

Let me give you an example, and this is more tactic than methodology, this is a sentence from the study describing how they derived results. “Bivariable multinomial logistic regression analyses demonstrated that compared with those who did not smoke ecigarettes at baseline, those who did smoke ecigarettes at baseline had larger point estimates of progressing from NSNS (non-susceptible non smoker) to SNS (susceptible non-smoker).”

So if they were using ecigs when the study began, they had larger estimates of progressing to a susceptible non-smoker. They are not smokers, but by the magic of the sudden consideration of additional variables via logistic regression, that were by all probability potential risk factors present at the beginning of the study, that must be the logistic regression they are talking about. Well, by these means they can add to the fear that ecigs lead to smoking even without concrete data. It’s an after the fact assumption! It’s confusing but effective.

Look, this doesn’t have to be that hard does it? If we want the truth just ask how many teens became regular cigarette smokers after starting with ecigs? What’s wrong with that question? Instead of talking about estimates and a bunch of virtually random numbers, how about we just get to the truth? What are they so afraid of?

The number of teens who are vapers and then go on to become smokers is minuscule according to the black and white data. In fact, teen smoking is at an all-time low. Is it reasonable to assume that they would have never tried a tobacco cigarette if they hadn’t tried an ecig first? That’s up for debate. If that is really happening I want to know about it and you want to know about it. Let’s get real answers without sensationalism and agendas.

No one in the vaping community wants to see teens picking up ecigs. We are all on the same side on that. There’s is an honest path to finding solutions but smearing ecigs is not the answer. Ecigs are not perfect but millions of people now vape instead of smoke and the best research tells us unequivocally that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking. In the US alone, we lose 450,000 people to smoking related illness every year. Let’s keep our eye on the ball here.

We need honest research to make vaping as successful and safe as possible. Seeing young people who are not smokers becoming vapers is not something anyone wants. The CDC has attacked ecigs based on these scare tactics. There are concerns but in terms of achieving the greatest good we’re just not going to get there with fear and lies. There is a constructive path and it’s about time that anti-vaping special interests stop obsessing about being right and start getting it right. Vaping is not the enemy. Smoking is.





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