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Drug Concerns

Americans are worried about vaping leading kids into using drugs, and a study says they’re right to be concerned.

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The opposition to vaping and harm reduction in the States has been rocked. Just as they thought it was almost all over, a new president sweeps in with a vaping senator and there’s a change of focus at the CDC. It’s disappointing, but predictable, that they are regrouping and trying to piggyback ecigs onto fears of teenage drug addiction.

Franklin County are being told that their kids are “misusing prescription drugs more than the national average and are also vaping at a higher clip compared to the rest of the country.” A nifty tie-in linking fear of addiction to those nasty vape “corporations”, who are “clearly making their money off of kids … (to make) them lifelong customers.”

Over in Burlington County, Joseph Conlin, a man claiming to be an educator, stated to parents and school staff that their children are abusing alcohol, marijuana and vaping. One minute he was talking about opiate addiction, the next spreading fears about the Juul pen. “It’s odourless. It’s vapourless,” and then he pointed to a picture of some Gummy Bears that are, apparently, also full of drugs.

Rio Blanco is up in arms about bottled water. Sorry, no they aren’t, they are all worried about electronic cigarettes too. It doesn’t work, says the Rio Blanco County Public Health Director. Not only is this expert confused about the difference between smoke and vape, she is petrified that the juice may contain marijuana products.

North Carolina is being told, “It's the Wild West out there!” As such, parents are being given the advice: “If your son starts smelling like cotton candy or some other sickly smelling sweet, there's a chance he's not just treating himself to some candy. And if your daughter smells of strawberry all of the time, it's possible she doesn't have a new perfume.”

‘Educate yourselves’, parents are being told. The problem is (to use an old computer term) GIGO: garbage in – garbage out. How can parents hope to learn the truth if they are being fed a diet of lies and hysteria?

Stuff magazine prides itself on being an authority on future tech. They are focussing on: “Synthetic drugs being produced in liquid form for e-cigarettes, decreasing chance of detection”.

And if it comes to relying on academics, the clever people who work at Universities, well they always tell the truth don’t they? It has been demonstrated that bad news in research gets coverage, and those universities get more media coverage – and therefore funding.

So, it will not be long until the recently released paper titled “Marijuana and e-cigarette use in a US national sample of 8th and 10th grade never-smokers of conventional cigarettes” begins being quoted by mainstream news sources. It’s already being cited by another study that was released at the same time!

In it, the researcher team write: “prior studies have established a direct association between conventional cigarette smoking and marijuana use,” and sought to demonstrate one for ecigs too.

They begin by assuming they are correct: “It is possible that adolescents transition directly from e-cigarette use to marijuana use because of their ability to ‘vape’ marijuana or hash oil through e-cigarettes.”

“In recent years, adolescents have come to perceive marijuana to be relatively less harmful than it was in the past,” they continue. This is probably because the dangers have been overblown and a process of legalisation is sweeping a number of American states.

Likewise, “adolescents perceive e-cigarettes to be safer alternatives to conventional cigarettes”. This is probably because vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking, according to Public Health England.

“This study finds a positive association between e-cigarette use and marijuana use among adolescents who have never smoked conventional cigarettes,” they conclude is a paper that is too easy to pull to pieces. In the meantime, we are left with no clear picture of whether there is a genuine issue or not, just smoke and mirrors. Parents don’t stand a chance.

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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