An astonishing statement made by public health scientists: young adults (smokers) should be deterred from trying e-cigarettes (and therefore maintain their smoking habit?)


Dr Farsalinos

A new study was published few days ago in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Researchers examined beliefs and e-cigarette use in 1379 young adults (mean age 24 years) from the Minnesota Adolescent Community Cohort. In that study, ever use (which means, having used e-cigarettes once—not regular or daily use), was reported by 7.4% of the participants (21.6% of smokers, 11.9% of former smokers and 2.9% of never smokers). Their analysis revealed that people who believed that e-cigarettes can help to quit smoking and that they are less harmful than tobacco cigarettes were more likely to experiment ever use.

At first glance, one would conclude that these are absolutely expected and desired findings. We know that e-cigarettes are less harmful than tobacco (we just do not know by what magnitude) and we know that they can help to quit smoking. However, it seems that the authors are criticizing this and believe that we should lie to the people!! Amazingly, they mention that: “…understanding the specific beliefs that predict subsequent e-cigarette experimentation allows us to focus on these beliefs when designing public health messages.” Therefore, if people believe that e-cigarettes are less harmful than tobacco (which is true), we should convince them that this is wrong. If they believe that they can quit smoking by switching to e-cigarettes (which is true), we should convince them that this is wrong. Even more surprisingly, they refer to the FDA summary of adverse events on electronic cigarettes by distorting the facts and claiming that: “…messages about the lack of evidence on e-cigarette being cessation aids, and the uncertainty of the risks associated with e-cigarette use (e.g., development and perpetuation of nicotine addiction, pneumonia, and congestive heart failure) may discourage young adults from experimenting with e-cigarettes.” (in reality, the FDA summary specifically mentioned that there was no evidence to support that any of the reported incidences were really associated with e-cigarette use.

 The tobacco control movement believes that the best way to “educate” the community is by lying, providing fear-mongering and intimidating claims and distorting science. Deterring someone from trying e-cigarettes is similar to encouraging him to continue smoking, and this is really unfortunate. We are seeing this strategy every day, through their statements to the news-media. This is an unfortunate path for any scientist or scientific movement to follow, but in this age of global communication and information-sharing, they are bound to fail (thankfully).




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