Georgetown University debunks FDA claims of vaping as a gateway to smoking
In response to the teenage trend of Juuling, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to assert that teen vaping is a gateway to adult smoking. However, yet another research study out of Georgetown University debunks these claims completely while offering worrisome parents some much needed reassurance.
Yes, Juul and other flavored vapor products may contain small amounts of nicotine, but many recent surveys indicate that a substantial portion of teenage vapers purchase zero-nicotine products. This small fact seems to escape the FDA’s reasoning behind the new ban on the sales of flavored vaping products through typical brick-and-mortar vape shops.
Another alarming fact that the FDA refuses to address publicly is that the nicotine in tobacco cigarettes is not as deadly as it likes to depict. It’s not the nicotine in combustible cigarettes that kills. It’s the nasty tar and hundreds of chemical additives that causes the real damage.
E-cigarettes lack these substances because the e-liquids are 100 percent tobacco-free. Anti-tobacco activists have known for years that many of the extra chemicals found in tobacco cigarettes are likely intentionally placed by Big Tobacco specifically because they are so addictive. If Gottlieb would focus on these cold, hard facts instead of the vaping-as-a-gateway conspiracy theory, then maybe public perception might shift to a more pro-vaping tone.
Overview of the Georgetown University vaping study
The Georgetown vaping study was recently published on November 20, 2018 in the Tobacco Control journal. After evaluating reams of data collected well before the vaping phenomenon began in early 2014, the co-authors of the study determined that the “tipping point” of increased teen vaping occurred in 2014.
If vaping is indeed a gateway to smoking, then four years later in 2018, these teenagers would now be young adult smokers. However, even the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the FDA’s own evidence does not support this claim. Conversely, the CDC report specifies that adult smoking rates are now at an historic low of about 14 percent, lower than at any time in documented history.
The most recent smoking statistics were just released November 8. Along with the CDC, both the National Institute of Health's National Cancer Institute (NCI) and Gottlieb’s very own agency, The FDA, assisted in the report’s compilation and analysis.
The Georgetown University vaping study determined that in 2013 just before the Juuling craze began, teenage smoking rates were about three times higher than e-cig usage. By 2015 – one year after the 2014 “tipping point – those numbers were reversed. About 2.39 million teens were vaping compared to about 1.37 of teen smokers. And a substantial portion of those teen vapers were even vaping zero-nicotine e-liquids.
During a recent interview on Politico's podcast Pulse Check, Gottlieb once again expressed fears that the popularity of flavored vape products may be inspiring teenagers to switch from vaping to smoking once they become adults.
"The bottom line is that we are creating a whole pool of kids addicted to nicotine through e-cigarettes, some proportion of them are going to become longer term users of combustible tobacco that otherwise might never have initiated on tobacco," Gottlieb says.
When Gottlieb makes statements like these, he already knows them to be false. By the CDC’s and the FDA’s own admissions per the national smoking statistics released earlier this month, adult smoking rates are on a sharp decline. The Georgetown University study only further validates the information that the CDC has already make public.
So, what is the real reason for FDA Commissioner Gottlieb’s banning of flavored vapes?
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