‘No Scientific Proof’ That Vaping Entices Youth To Smoke Cigs, Experts Say

Steve Birr | Vice Reporter

Health officials in the U.S. are bashing vaping as a harmful practice addicting the youth, but experts say these claims are “purely speculative” and not reflected in scientific studies.

“The vast majority of scientific studies in fact point to substantial harm reduction benefits of these products compared to combustible cigarettes,” Patricia Kovacevic, general counsel and chief compliance officer of Nicopure Labs LLC, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “A comprehensive review of all the science to date point to immense benefits to the individual and to the community.”

Electronic cigarette manufacturers and vendors faced a brutal year in 2016 of new rules and regulations from the federal government and localities throughout many states. Health officials continue to push lawmakers to amend the laws governing traditional cigarettes to include vaping devices, despite evidence e-cigarettes eliminate 95 percent of the dangers associated with smoking, because the majority of cancer-causing chemicals are inhaled through smoke.

Alarmists claim vaping companies deliberately sell flavors that appeal to kids in order to hook them on nicotine early. Officials in California are currently calling for stricter vaping regulations to protect children in Chico, Oroville and Butte County, who are allegedly experimenting with e-cigarettes at a dangerous level.

“You can see an increase in experimentation like with any new product, but nobody, especially the government, have pinpointed or ever demonstrated a gateway or leap from vaping to smoking,” Kovacevic told TheDCNF. “This purely speculative. When people talk about it they say ‘it might lead to smoking’ but there has been no evidence of that or scientific proof. In fact, underage smoking is at an all time low.”

Kovacevic notes statements from researchers linking e-cigarettes to smoking will often misrepresent what the actual data shows. In one recent example from the Virginia Commonwealth University, researchers studying 3,757 freshmen based their analysis off the metric of vaping “at least one puff in the past six months.”

They claimed the data suggested a gateway effect to smoking, when it actually proved the exact opposite. Only six students from the body of thousands that participated switched from vaping to smoking cigarettes, while 20 students who began the study as smokers transitioned to vaping.

“They are never quite able to quote any study that shows progression from vaping to smoking,” said Kovacevic. “In fact, every behavioral study there is show that many smokers will switch and eventually quite smoking entirely. That is the progression that has been observed over time.”

The current target of vaping critics is flavored nicotine. Democratic lawmakers are attempting to ban all flavored vaping products in New Jersey, claiming they lure children to smoking. The law would only allow for tobacco, menthol and clove flavors to be sold for vaping products.

Critics of the proposed ban note the flavors are very popular with adults and offer smokers a viable way to reduce health risks to themselves and those around them.

“The flavors are really appealing to adults,” Kovacevic told TheDCNF. “There is no scientific proof that children will progress to smoking or would not be vaping if there was only tobacco flavored vapor. There is an inherent value in the flavors for helping adult smokers quit.”

Major health groups in England, like the Royal College of Physicians, agree that using e-cigarettes eliminates most of the harms attributed to smoking. They also recommend vaping to patients trying to quit traditional tobacco products.

Roughly 56 percent of all adult smokers in the U.K. made the decision to quit in 2015, the largest number reported since 1974, and health officials give a lot of the credit to vaping.

Public health officials in the U.S. focused on harm reduction argue policymakers could learn a lot from the British approach to tobacco addiction.

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Steve Birr

Vice Reporter

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