Media and Researchers Suggest Use of Both E-Cigs and Cigarettes a Problem For Smokers — But That’s Bullcrap
Preliminary research is suggesting that many smokers use electronic cigarettes in addition to smoking rather than one or the other. Often the suggested reason for this is that the individual still prefers or is addicted to smoking, but in situations where smoking is illegal or inappropriate, they use electronic cigarettes to suffice. Anti-smoking fanatics and even the FDA are quick to claim that this is a huge problem — allowing smokers to circumvent smoking restrictions that might get them to otherwise quit entirely and potentially causing more total harm than if they only smoked.
This appears to be utter bullcrap.
Right out of the gate, there is some question as to the validity of the study’s methodology as it considers electronic cigarettes to be tobacco products. For instance, it found that roughly 20% of tobacco products users consume electronic cigarettes in addition to one or more other tobacco products. This is certainly a non-trivial amount of smokers, but the announcement treats this a bad news and focuses in particular on the fact that smokers who use e-cigs are doing so to circumvent smoking restrictions rather than to quit smoking. For many, the option is not quit or vape, it’s vape or keep smoking just as much.
While this might make the study easier to conduct, it seems likely that spinning vapor products as tobacco products may shape some of a subjects responses and views on the product — especially for studies conducted over time. Legally, e-cigs aren’t yet tobacco products in any official capacity other than some cities and states putting poorly formulated re-definitions in their books to ban and tax the products the same as cigarettes.
Dual use (smoking and vaping) shouldn’t be a problem. First of all, other studies have already shown that any amount of electronic cigarette or vapor product use correlates to dramatically reduced smoking amounts. People who vape — even those only doing it so they can consume nicotine inside or on the job — generally smoke as much as half or less than they did before vaping. This matters because vaping is 99% less harmful than smoking. So if you smoking 10 cigarettes a day, and you replace even one of them with vaping, you’re most likely reducing the harm done to you. Commentary on these preliminary results only talks about whether individuals consume both and not the impact that has on their health or total consumption.
If you’ll notice, although the article implies it, no one is actually saying that dual use is a problem. Mitch Zeller of the FDA says the high numbers of dual use prove that e-cigs have have become very popular — but nothing is said of the dangers or the impact of dual use.
Even the quote from Dr. Wilson Compton, deputy director of NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse, pulled from an Associate Press article is one of the most useless quotes I’ve ever seen. “Is it a passing fancy or something that sticks with them?” What does this tell us? Nothing, because it’s a question… but it is smartly formulated in a way to suggest that e-cigs and vapor products are either a pointless, short-lived trend or a brand new addiction (I guess they couldn’t possibly be anything else). It’s not that subtle if you’re paying attention, but many readers aren’t.
Dual use is a flashy topic that anti-vaping fanatics like to use as proof that e-cigs are bad — See, they don’t help you quit, they just help you use more! But it’s not a hard argument to slap down with even minimal use of research we already have available.