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Bauld Statements

Linda Bauld holds forth on the links between young people and vaping.

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Linda Bauld is the Deputy Director of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies at Stirling University. She is truly independent and has not conducted any research or consultancy for tobacco, pharmaceutical or electronic cigarette companies.

She begins her piece in The Conversation by recalling the all-time lowest incidence of smoking prevalence in UK-based youths and continues by citing Michael Russell - who pointed out that smokers “smoke for the nicotine, but they die from the tar.” Her writing is a clarion call for common sense but that doesn’t prevent Simon Chapman from sticking his oar in with logical fallacies in her comment section.

One of the issues she raises is the whole misattribution of danger to nicotine. The public at large link it directly to the dangers posed by smoking – many falsely blaming it for the host of smoking-related diseases. This is something anti-vaping campaigners like Chapman play on and continue to twist in order to sway public opinion against ecigs. “90% of non-smokers and 75% of smokers believe it is harmful,” she writes.

From the 39 pieces of research she has studied, all looking at use of electronic cigarettes in young people, mostly focus on single schools or regions. It is different for the UK as we have been carrying out national studies. The evidence coming from the research tells us that although trial and use is growing (up to 12% in one study), “the proportion who regularly used e-cigarettes (more than once a month) was still very low... and concentrated in youth who also smoked tobacco.”

By his own admission, Chapman tells her: “Your caveats on the JAMA study are interesting. Yes, the JAMA study does not ‘prove’ causation. But it’s hard to imagine any study that could. I’d be curious to see a research design with hypothetical results that you or other would demonstrate gateway proof.” One wonders then, if he has no evidence of a link to prove a gateway effect, what his fears and scare mongering are based on? Constantly saying ‘the reasoning offered by pro-vaping campaigners sounds like words that came from tobacco companies in the 60s’ simply isn’t good enough.

Bauld highlights that three of the four UK studies failed to find any long-term use of electronic cigarettes in young people in anything like a statistically acceptable number. Wales, for example, only found 54 individuals in a sample size of 9000, which equates to about half a percent.

“What this all tells us is that, while young people are experimenting with e-cigarettes and the proportion who say they’ve tried them is rising, only very small numbers of young non-smokers are attracted to these products on any regular basis.”

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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