In an article published earlier this month in JAMA Pediatrics, the Surgeon General claimed that electronic cigarettes: "are now the most commonly used form of tobacco among youth in the United States, surpassing cigarettes, chewing tobacco, cigars, and hookah." The article repeatedly refers to e-cigarettes as a form of tobacco. In fact, the article contains four statements indicating that e-cigarettes are a "form of tobacco" or that vaping is a "form of tobacco use."
The Rest of the Story
There's just one problem with the Surgeon General's claim that vaping is a form of tobacco use: it's not true.
There is no tobacco in electronic cigarettes. Using e-cigarettes, even if they contain nicotine, is not a form of tobacco use. You are not using tobacco if you vape because the e-liquids do not contain tobacco. In fact, the entire point of vaping is that it represents a tobacco-free and smoke-free method of inhaling nicotine.
Even if the Surgeon General wrongly believes that consuming any product that contains nicotine is a form of tobacco use, then he is still lying to the public. Under that definition, e-cigarettes are not the most commonly used form of tobacco among youth. Potatoes are.
According to the Surgeon General, about one in six high school students have consumed e-cigarettes in the past month. But according to the National Youth Physical Activity and Nutrition Study, a whopping 69% of high school students have consumed potatoes in the past seven days. And if you include french fries, that percentage goes up to 79.4%.
The rest of the story is that the Surgeon General owes a huge apology. Either way, he was lying. The only question is whether he owes that apology to the American public (and especially vapers) or to the United Potato Growers of America.