Houston, TX “Health” official caught lying to children

A so-called “health” official from Houston County has been touring schools in the Texas city, giving children highly misleading and completely dishonest information about the health implications of vaping. It’s unclear why Texas officials think lying to children will help, but they seem determined to do it.

Health officer Audrey Staggermeyer seems to be the key perpetrator of this campaign. She’s been telling children that vaping is just as dangerous as smoking cigarettes – a ludicrously untrue claim that’s contradicted by all the evidence. She seems to be basing this on the fact most e-liquid contains nicotine, which Staggermeyer claims “is often used as an insecticide”.

Staggermeyer also displayed her ignorance by claiming vaping increases nicotine consumption, parroting the statement that “one JUUL pod contains as much nicotine as a whole pack of cigarettes”. Yes it does – because it replaces a whole pack of cigarettes.

According to Staggermeyer, poisonings have “skyrocketed” since vaping became popular. The reality is that there was a temporary spike in calls to poison control centres, which is not the same thing. There has been one known fatal poisoning from vapour products – a toddler died in suspicious circumstances after his mother left a bottle of nicotine base (not e-liquid) open on a low table.

Study finds e-cigs “likely to reduce disease”

New research has found that fears of a “gateway effect” from vaping into smoking are based on incomplete information – and, even if they’re true, the availability of e-cigs is likely to reduce smoking-related diseases anyway.

The study found that while use of vapour products is a predictor of later smoking, most researchers haven’t looked at why that is (it’s because vaping was designed as a substitute for smoking, so appeals to the same people).

According to the authors any gateway effect would be likely to cause a modest increase (at most) in smoking rates – but, in fact, real-world data show smoking rates falling faster than predicted. That basically means there’s no gateway effect. Even if there was, though, the authors point out that vaping is so much safer than smoking that there would still be health benefits anyway.

Washington brings in vape tax

On Tuesday, Washington governor Jay Inslee signed a bill that will impose punitive new taxes on his state’s vapers – and it hits particularly hard at pod systems. Washington has already brought in a ban on selling vapour products to under-21s; now, with the new tax, the state government is going after adult vapers too.

E-liquid for use in open system devices will be subjected to a tax of nine cents per millilitre, adding $2.70 to the cost of a standard 30ml bottle – a significant increase. For closed systems, however – the increasingly popular pod mods – the tax is a whopping 27 cents per millilitre. State politicians say the tax – which will apply to all liquids, even nicotine-free ones – will be spent on cancer research and anti-smoking programmes. They seem to be unaware that vaping is the most successful anti-smoking programme ever invented. Meanwhile, Washington vape shop owners say they will probably go out of business as the tax drives their customers to online suppliers or Indian reservations.

Vape hysteria reaches new depths of idiocy

A Los Angeles County high school claims to have found an alarming new way to vape, and is warning parents to look out for damaged USB cables. According to officials at Valencia High School, a USB charging cable with one end ripped off is probably a sign that your child is vaping directly from JUUL pods, without using the actual JUUL battery.

While it’s possible that someone could do this, it’s hard to think of any reason why they’d bother. The same people now warning of this “new vaping method” have been shrieking for a year about how JUUL is so dangerous because the device is small and easy to use covertly. Now they’re worried that teens are vaping with a pod that’s tethered to their laptop with a couple of feet of cable. It seems there’s no bandwagon so ridiculous that US anti-vapers won’t jump on it.

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Veteran, vaper and writer. All articles express my own opinion and do not necessarily reflect the Editor's view.