NIDA Nicotine Niggles

Posted 16th October 2018 by Dave Cross
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has launched an attack on the nicotine contained in eliquids. It must be a different type of nicotine than that found in pharmaceutical quit products, that kind remains OK. It’s another baseless attack on something that has helped millions of smokers to quit smoking and is recognised as being “at least 95% safer than smoking tobacco”.

NIDA took to social media to tweet: “The nicotine in e-cigarettes can increase your blood pressure, breathing and heart rate … #DrugFacts #FridayFacts”

There is a lot of nonsense spouted on the Internet. For example, one site says that people can use “broccoli & spinach superfoods” and “mindfulness” to rid the body of “nicotine toxins”. NIDA’s position is almost a similar level of stupid.

The organisation links to the “facts” on its site. These include:

  • Teens who vape then become smokers, citing a 2017 study by Bold et al. This ignores the data that shows it simply isn’t happening.
  • Vapers smoke more than smokers. They make this assertion having read a study by Stanton (lies for money) Glantz. His work is a piece of data-manipulating rubbish.
  • There’s a gateway from vaping to smoking … because Stanton Glantz says so in a 2017 paper that is utterly divorced from reality given the plummeting rates of smoking in the USA and UK.
  • There are carcinogens in vapour – but they cite two outdated studies where dry burning was taking place.

NIDA can’t even manage to take a picture illustrating the types of devices vapers are using in 2018:

Pure Eliquids

“E-cigarettes are popular among teens,” claims NIDA. This is true if you actually ignore the data and focus on headline statistics like the FDA is currently bandying around. This popularity is due to “alluring advertisements, various e-liquid flavours, and the belief that they're safer than cigarettes.”

The only alluring adverts are published by organisations attempting to discredit Juul Labs, flavours are essential to successful smoking cessation and there isn’t a “belief” that vaping is safer – it’s a fact.

NIDA relies on a collection of ridiculous research papers, published in the likes of the staunchly anti-vaping Pediatrics journal, to make its range of nonsensical statements. But when it comes to commenting on nicotine it doesn’t offer up a single paper in support of its claims.

This is probably because the most NIDA can manage is to say: “nicotine stimulates the adrenal glands to release the hormone epinephrine (adrenaline). Epinephrine stimulates the central nervous system and increases blood pressure, breathing, and heart rate.”

The Electronic Cigarette Company

As one Twitter user put it: “So what?”

NIDA would like the reader to be afraid of the prospect of increased blood pressure, breathing, and heart rate – but this is the product of any number of activities such as watching a horror film, seeing someone you find attractive or running to catch a bus.

The average person might not analyse their message in this way and might go on to assume that this means vaping is bad. They might even be a smoker and therefore dissuaded from making a quit attempt – or convince someone to return to smoking. It demonstrates an absence of morality and honesty in tobacco controllers.

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker