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Tobacco Control’s Bridge Too Far

A ridiculous research team conclude vaping is a one-way bridge to smoking.

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University of Michigan academics have produced one of the stupidest conclusions in the field of vape research. Setting out to prove how bad vaping is from the outset, they managed to skew the results to fit their bias and reckon that ecigs lead to smoking. Worse, they state that it’s a one-way bridge.

The study, “E-cigarette use as a predictor of cigarette smoking: results from a 1-year follow-up of a national sample of 12th grade students”, was carried out to examine vaping as a predictor of future cigarette smoking among youth with and without previous cigarette smoking experience. A secondary aim, apparently, was to investigate whether vaping may desensitise youth to the dangers of smoking.

The researchers state in their report: “In conclusion, these results bolster findings for vaping as a one-way bridge to cigarette smoking among adolescents. To the best of our knowledge, the risk for future cigarette smoking is currently one of the strongest, scientifically-based rationales for restricting youth access to e-cigarettes.”

Peter Hajek, Queen Mary University of London, thinks: “This paper just shows that teenagers who try cigarettes are more likely to also try e-cigarettes (and the other way round) compared to teenagers who do not do such things. This is trivial. People who read sci-fi novels are also more likely to watch sci-fi movies than people who do not like sci-fi. There is no reason why these activities should be performed in one order only.”

Linda Bauld, University of Stirling, said: “This article is the latest American study to claim that using an e-cigarette can lead to tobacco smoking in teenagers – in fact the authors go as far as to describe it as a ‘one way bridge’ to smoking. If this were true it would be very worrying. We know e-cigarettes are far less harmful than smoking and we also know that teenagers are experimenting with these products. While we don’t want to encourage that, the key public health priority is to prevent young people from starting to smoke, a habit that eventually kills one in two regular smokers. If trying an e-cigarette causes regular smoking, then we should be alarmed. However, this study and previous American studies which have made similar assertions have not found this, and so we must be very cautious about jumping to such a conclusion on the basis of this study.”

“The findings provide no justification for the grossly misleading ‘one-way bridge’ headline,” adds Hajek. “There is actually hard evidence that this is false and that the effects of vaping experimentation on smoking is more likely to be the opposite, i.e. smoking reduction. The increased experimentation with vaping by adolescents has been accompanied by a continuing or even accelerating decrease in youth smoking.”

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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