Thursday, June 25, 2015

New Study Finds that Problem of E-Cigarette Use Among Nonsmoking Adults is Non-Existent

Contrary to the claims of many e-cigarette opponents, who argue that nonsmokers will be attracted to take up electronic cigarette use, the results of a Minnesota study just published in Tobacco Control finds that regular e-cigarette use among nonsmoking adults is a rarity.

In this study of Minnesota adults, although 5.6% of nonsmokers had tried e-cigarettes and 1.2% had used e-cigarettes in the past month, only 0.1% of nonsmokers had used e-cigarettes more than 5 days in the past month.

The study concludes that: "These results suggest that many infrequent users are experimenters, unlikely to continue their e-cigarette use over time. If that is the case, then measuring e-cigarette current use prevalence based on any use in the past 30 days may lead to an overestimate of regular users. That conclusion is reinforced by the finding that most individuals who had ever used e-cigarettes reported no use in the past 30 days."

As I reported recently, a study by Cancer Research UK found a similar result among youth. Virtually no nonsmoking youth could be found who were regular e-cigarette users.

The Rest of the Story

Together, these studies suggest that both among youth and adults, there is currently no problem with nonsmokers being enticed into regular vaping behavior. This is yet another claim of e-cigarette opponents that has not held up when the actual evidence is examined.

The CDC has not measured and reported data on the frequency of e-cigarette use beyond use at least once in the past 30 days. These studies suggest that if the CDC refined its questions to inquire about the actual frequency of use, it would find that very few nonsmokers have become regular vapers. Regular vaping appears to be an activity that is exclusive to smokers (and ex-smokers, many or most of whom have likely quit smoking because of e-cigarettes).

In discussing the results of these studies, Jacob Sullum, senior editor at Reason magazine, notes that: "public health officials and anti-smoking activists are grasping at straws to justify their knee-jerk animosity toward e-cigarettes. Instead of harping on unfounded fears that vaping will lead to nicotine addiction and an increase in smoking, they should be investigating the lifesaving potential of e-cigarettes, a far less hazardous alternative to the conventional kind."

But anti-smoking activists don't even want to consider the possibility that e-cigarettes could be saving lives because it goes against their deeply entrenched ideology and their pre-determined conclusions based on that ideology. Anything that looks like smoking is a bad thing, all nicotine use is bad, and no one should gain pleasure from a substance that can be addictive.

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