Even though the e-liquids in vaping products are 100% tobacco-free, many public health officials from around the world often lump e-cigs into the same category as combustible cigarettes. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) created the deeming regulations based on this very premise, and nearly two-thirds of all nations place restrictions on e-cigs to some degree. But one tobacco-control expert from the UK is speaking out against the scaremongering tactics of some anti-tobacco groups that may be jeopardizing long-term public health.
Professor Linda Bauld is the Director of the Institute for Social Marketing and Dean of Research (Impact) at the University of Stirling. In a recent article for The Guardian, she claims that the scientific evidence proving that vaping is substantially less harmful than smoking is “piling up” at a rapid pace. Ms. Bauld does not simply offer her opinions on the matter. She backs them up with scientific fact.
‘E-cigarettes are less harmful than smoking because they don’t contain tobacco.’
Bauld begins by taking aim at anti-tobacco activists who specialize in the spreading of misinformation that essentially implies that smoking is just as hazardous as smoking. In doing so, these so-called public health advocates are sending a message that people “might as well continue smoking” if vaping products are just as dangerous. She does not address the conspiracy theories that Big Tobacco might secretly be driving the spreading of this anti-vaping propaganda.
Ms. Bauld is an educator. She deals in cold, hard facts. As a basis for her argument, Bauld cites several vaping studies. The first is a 16-month cross-sectional study comparing the nicotine, carcinogens, and toxicity levels of five different groups of vapers and/or smokers. Some were only-vapers. Some were only-smokers. And many fell somewhere in between.
According to Bauld, the scientists “found large reductions in carcinogens and other toxic compounds in vapers compared with smokers, but only if the user had stopped smoking completely.” The study entitled Nicotine, Carcinogen, and Toxin Exposure in Long-Term E-Cigarette and Nicotine Replacement Therapy Users: A Cross-sectional Study is readily available via the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Vaping as a gateway to smoking is ‘less than 1%.’
Professor Bauld also takes issue with those who claim that vape use, particularly among teens and young adults, acts as a gateway to smoking addiction. And as usual, she references at least two reputable studies which debunk these outrageous claims entirely.
“2017 saw the publication of the world’s largest study to date of young people and vaping, including over 60,000 teenagers. It found that while experimentation with these products was occurring, regular use by teens who had never smoked remains very low, at less than 1%. Meanwhile in the UK and many other countries like the USA, youth smoking rates continue to decline at an encouraging pace. If vaping was causing smoking, these trends would reverse.”
She then goes on to urge smokers considering a switch to vaping as a tobacco harm reduction tool to do their research on vaping vs. smoking and look for the facts. She also openly questions the “seemingly insatiable press interest” surrounding vaping and electronic cigarettes. From her perspective, she believes that a public awareness campaign clearly needs to take place in the media, perhaps funded by public health officials, to “shout above the noise and deliver the facts” about the positive health aspects of vaping.