Evaluating E-Cigarettes Is a Drag

Splendid readers! The hardlysmoking staff could use your help in sorting this headscratcher out.

Over the past several days we’ve encountered two radically different reports on the relative merits/hazards of electronic cigarettes, and we can’t quite figure out which one is right.

Or if both are.

Start with this piece in The Guardian (tip o’ the pixel to the Daily Beast).

Vaping: e-cigarettes safer than smoking, says Public Health England

Government body says vaping can make ‘significant contribution to endgame of tobacco’ and raises concerns about length of licensing process

Vaping is safer than smoking and could lead to the demise of the traditional cigarette, Public Health England (PHE) has said in the first official recognition that e-cigarettes are less damaging to health than smoking tobacco.

The health body concluded that, on “the best estimate so far”, e-cigarettes are about 95% less harmful than tobacco cigarettes and could one day be dispensed as a licensed medicine in an alternative to anti-smoking products such as patches.

Helpful chart:

Screen Shot 2015-08-21 at 12.04.23 AM

As far as e-cigs being a gateway to cigarette smoking, the PHE study says that kind of thinking is, well, vapid.

The review found that almost all of the 2.6 million adults in the UK now thought to be using e-cigarettes are current or former conventional smokers, most using them to help them quit tobacco or to prevent them going back to smoking.

There was no suggestion that the products were a gateway into tobacco smoking, with less than 1% of adults or young people who had never smoked becoming regular cigarette users.

But . . .

The same day, this report appeared in the Wall Street Journal.

Teens Who Use E-Cigs Found Likelier to Smoke

Ninth-graders who used electronic cigarettes were more likely to smoke cigarettes, cigars or hookahs than peers who never tried the battery-powered devices, a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found.

The research is some of the first to address fear among health officials that e-cigarettes could become a gateway to traditional cigarettes. The results come as the largely unregulated $3.5 billion e-cigarette industry faces mounting criticism from health groups and lawmakers concerned about teens using the devices, which heat liquid nicotine into vapor.

The study focused on ninth-graders at 10 public schools in Los Angeles who had tried e-cigarettes before the fall of 2013. Researchers surveyed those students in the spring of 2014 and fall of 2014, and discovered that they were about 2½ times as likely as their peers to have smoked traditional cigarettes, five times as likely to have smoked cigars, and three times as likely to have smoked hookahs.

Helpful chart:

Screen Shot 2015-08-21 at 12.15.58 AM

So . . . what?

Teens are four times more likely to use real cigarettes? Or barely likely to move from vaping to flaming?

Inquiring minds want to know.

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4 Responses to Evaluating E-Cigarettes Is a Drag

  1. Vaping “tobacco”? Seriously? HWS, please – wake up and smell the doses.

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