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U.S. medical group endorses vaping; encourages public education

A very prestigious group of independent national medical experts named the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) is officially endorsing vape products as both a smoking cessation tool.  The focus of the endorsement is on adult smokers trying to quit.  The move is a significant break from policies and rhetoric set forth by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which is currently attempting to re-label e-cigs as a teen vaping “epidemic.” 

Just last month, renowned epidemiologist Dr. Raymond Niaura of the New York University College of Global Public Health took issue with the FDA’s re-classification of underage e-cig use by saying that terms such as “epidemic” and “clear and present danger” are traditionally reserved by the scientific community for such potentially deadly outbreaks of diseases like yellow fever and the Ebola virus.  The data surround teen vaping simply does not support such outlandish claims. 

Related Article:  Renowned epidemiologist debunks FDA claims of teen vaping ‘epidemic’

The USPSTF endorsement addresses the issue of teenage experimentation with vapor products, but it offers a substantially different preventative approach compared to the FDA’s stance of stricter regulatory protocols.   Instead, the Maryland-based medical panel promotes improved public education efforts, not only by government-run health agencies, but by doctors and medical personnel, as well.

In a somewhat controversial move, the USPSTF is now encouraging all physicians and their staff to include discussions of vaping in their youth-targeted smoking cessation educational programs.  However, the primary focus of such programs should always be on teen prevention of smoking rather than vaping because 90 percent of smoking adults begin their nasty habit prior to the age of eighteen.  While underage vaping is a serious issue, teen smoking is even more so.   

Teen smoking prevention should be the real hot-button issue

According to Churn Magazine, one USPSTF panelist Dr. Michael Silverstein says, “Preventing tobacco use among our young people is critical to the health of the nation. All youth are at risk for tobacco use and should be provided with interventions to help prevent them from ever starting.” The article continues, “So while the panel remains rightfully focused on preventative measures, it’s still a significant win for vaping to be legitimized by a reputable, independent group.”

But herein lies the rub.  The phrasing “tobacco use” has substantially different meanings to the FDA, the USPSTF, and the general population.  The FDA, for example, issued new deeming regulations in 2015 that recategorizes electronic cigarettes as tobacco products – even though the e-liquids used in these products are 100 percent tobacco-free.

Anti-vaping groups use this FDA reclassification as ammunition in their disinformation campaigns which has significantly contributed to the widespread public confusion about vaping versus smoking.  The USPSTF’s definition of “tobacco use” seems to be more literal, as is evident by their concerns that teenage smoking prevention is the more urgent issue at hand.

Instead of avoiding difficult conversations about vaping with youngsters, the medical panel encourages doctors and medical staff to provide the proper information about e-cigs rather than the misinformation spreading online.

Related Article:  Brad Rodu completely annihilates ‘vaping causes heart attacks’ study

(Image courtesy of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force)

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