“There’s still a perception that e-cigarettes are less harmful than regular cigarettes and so for some kids who never would have tried smoking cigarettes they get the idea this might be a safer alternative.” said the director of tobacco control and public policy for the ALA in Wisconsin, Dona Wininsky, earlier this month.
Commenting about these statements on his blog, public health expert Dr. Michael Siegel referred to them as lies. “Clearly, the ALA is telling the public that kids are actually mistaken and that e-cigarettes are no less harmful than regular cigarettes. Of course, this also means that cigarettes are no more dangerous than e-cigarettes.”
Data in favour of vaping keeps being ignored
As for another claim the ALA made, that vaping leads to smoking, ie. the infamous “Gateway Theory”, amongst the countless studies that dispel this theory, is one that was released only two weeks back, on the 16th of June, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Data collected from this research clearly demonstrates that smoking rates amongst high school students were cut in half in only five years, between 2011 to 2016. Most importantly during this same time, vaping amongst the same age group increased from 1.5% to a peak of 16.0% in 2015.
A “gateway” to smoking cessation
“The ALA is not only wrong in its assessment of the relative health effects of vaping compared to smoking, but it is also wrong in suggesting that e-cigarette use among youth in Wisconsin is a problem because it leads to cigarette use. The evidence from Wisconsin suggests exactly the opposite.” said Dr. Siegel.
The public health expert added that according according to the state’s Youth Tobacco Survey, while vaping rates are high amongst school students in Wisconsin, with an increase from 7.9% in 2014 to 13.3% in 2016, smoking rates declined by 24%, from 10.7% to 8.1%. “These data are not consistent with the assertion that e-cigarettes are serving as a gateway to smoking among Wisconsin youth. In fact, they suggest the opposite.” concluded Siegel.