Study links vaping and depression – but can’t say what this means

A new study has found a link between vaping and clinical depression – but, like several studies that showed a link between vaping and heart attacks (all written by Stanton Glantz) it fails to identify which direction causality is pointing. At least in this case the researchers are open about the fact they don’t know, but that probably won’t stop the media jumping all over it to launch more attacks on e-cigarettes.

The research, carried out at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, looked at almost 900,00 participants in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System of whom 28,736 were current vapers. Analysis showed that current vapers were 2.1 times as likely to have a history of clinical depression as people who had never vaped; former vapers showed a slightly weaker link, at 1.6 times more likely. However the researchers admitted that the association “might be bidirectional”. In other words they don’t know whether vaping causes depression or people with depression are more likely to vape. As there’s no known mechanism by which vaping could cause depression, and nicotine is a stimulant that’s widely used for self-medication by many people with mental illness, it’s much more likely to be the latter.

Joe Biden wants total vape ban

Former vice president Joe Biden, one of the leading Democrat candidates to challenge President Trump this November, says he would halt the sale of all vapour products until more research has been carried out into their safety. Biden seems to be motivated by the ongoing US lung disease epidemic, although it’s been known for months that this is caused by contaminated black market marijuana products, not legal vapour products.

Biden isn’t the only Democrat who hates harm reduction. Antique socialist Bernie Sanders called for a complete shutdown of the vaping industry on Saturday, although one of his advisers then tried to bury the demand.

Democrats are currently outraged that President Trump has only banned some flavoured products, rather than implementing the total ban called for by harm reduction opponents. With at least two of their three presidential front runners determined to impose total vaping bans, they might be able to put that outrage into action next January.

New Glantz study claims vaping causes lung disease

Veteran anti-harm reduction activist Stanton Glantz has released yet another paper which, he claims, proves that e-cigarettes cause serious lung disease. According to Glantz, whose degrees are in aeronautical engineering, vapers are 1.3 times as likely to develop lung disease as people who neither vape nor smoke. Smokers are around 2.6 times more likely – and, according to Glantz, dual use multiplies the risks and approximately triple the chance of lung disease.

Previous studies by Glantz, claiming to “prove” that vaping increases the risk of heart disease, have been slammed by real scientists who pointed out that his data could just as easily show that people who suffer from heart disease are more likely to quit smoking and switch to vaping. Stung by this criticism, Glantz says this latest study takes into account whether or not subjects were previously smokers who switched to vaping – although at the same time he’s claiming this category of vapers hardly exists. According to Glantz only around 1% of smokers who start vaping have fully switched; figures from large-scale UK studies show the real figure is above 50%.

New York mayor signs flavour ban into law

Bill de Blasio, the Democrat mayor of New York City, signed a bill two weeks ago that bans sales of all flavoured vapour products in the city from 1 July 2020. The legislation covers mint and menthol as well as so-called “concept flavours”, which some makers have developed to skirt earlier bans.

According to de Blasio and various state health officials the ban is a message to “big tobacco” that “cynical attempts to hook children” are unacceptable. As usual this ignores the fact that the overwhelming majority of flavoured vapour products have nothing to do with the tobacco industry and have never been marketed at children anyway.

While the new law won’t take effect until July, New York City vapers are already facing restrictions under state laws anyway. A state flavour ban introduced by emergency decree has just been extended for another 90 days.