What politicians aren’t telling you about vaping: Teen smoking rates at all-time lows
In late November, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions held a confirmation hearing for President Trump’s nominee for chief of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Dr. Stephen Hahn was peppered with questions from both sides of the political aisle, specifically about underage vaping and the necessity for flavored e-liquids. When asked whether he supported a nationwide flavor ban, Dr. Hahn remained stoically noncommittal.
Other issues discussed included the medicinal value of cannabidiol or CBD, but references to its role in the “vaping related” lung disorder scandal of recent months were barely even mentioned. Another missing topic of discussion that any respectable politician might ask any nominee applying for the job of running the nation’s top public health agency is, “What is the FDA’s perceived role in reducing national smoking rates in both teenagers and adults?”
CDC confirms national smoking rates among teenagers and young adults at historic lows
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking among high school students has decreased by a whopping 15.8 percent since 2011, the year that vaping started becoming a huge phenomenon. Smokeless tobacco use has also plummeted by almost 8 percent among high schoolers. In fact, according to the non-profit group The Truth Initiative, “The young adult cigarette smoking rate is at an all-time low of nearly 10 percent, a more than 20 percent drop in just a year.”
Scientific evidence as documented by the FDA-equivalent agency in the United Kingdom, Public Health England (PHE), has determined as of 2015 that vaping is 95 percent less harmful than vaping. Period.
The e-liquids used in the electronic cigarettes are 100 percent tobacco-free, and physicians - including Dr. Hahn - have known for literally decades that the burning of tobacco leaves through smoking combustible cigarettes leads to several forms of cancer and respiratory disease. The tar-filled tobacco smoke also clogs the arteries and leads to multiple forms of very serious cardiovascular disorders. Vapers are at a 95 percent reduced risk of obtaining any of these life-threatening medical disorders, according to the PHE research.
Senate confirmation hearings grill FDA nominee using disinformation and outright lies
Yet, during the senate confirmation hearings, Dr. Hahn was repeatedly asked questions about how he plans to curb “nicotine addiction” rather than “smoking addiction” in adolescents. Many committee members automatically jumped to the unproven conclusion that flavored vapor products are the real threat because these cotton candy vapes secretly lure young kids into “nicotine addiction.”
When Dr. Hahn said that he would only agree to “follow the science and data” before making any decisions on a possible federal flavor ban, Senator Patty Murray, a democrat from the state of Washington, was unamused. She immediately blasted the nominee with a response that was a clear obfuscation of the real issue at hand – teen smoking addiction. “Is failing to implement a flavor ban, and ignoring the millions of children who are getting addicted to e-cigarettes consistent with your focus on science and data?”
Dr, Hahn is a medical examiner from the University of Texas with a specialization in oncology – cancer, that is. Dr. Hahn knows very well that the clear and present danger to both teenagers and adults is the risk of getting cancer from the smoking of combustible tobacco cigarettes. “Nicotine” has very little to do with it, really.
Dr. Hahn knows that nicotine is largely non-addictive, and scientists now believe that it has tremendous therapeutic benefits for patients suffering from cognitive disorders, including Alzheimer’s Disease. As an oncologist, Dr. Hahn also likely knows that teen and adult smoking rates are all all-time lows nationwide and that the real culprit behind the “vaping-related” respiratory injuries is contraband THC-containing cartridges. Again, “flavors” have very little to do with it whatsoever.
Perhaps these are the reasons for Dr. Hahn’s non-committal responses to intentionally misleading questions from senate committee members during his confirmation hearings. Perhaps Dr. Hahn is an honorable man who refuses to endorse such anti-vaping nonsense. It may be too early to tell, but here’s hoping for the best.