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Surgeon General Vivek Murthy Abandons Public Health for E-Cig Hysteria 

REUTERS/Jason Reed

Guy Bentley writes: Anti-e-cigarette alarmism reached fever pitch Thursday, with the release of the surgeon general’s first-ever report on youth e-cigarette use.

“While Murthy is correct to point out that vaping is not entirely safe, the report totally evades how much safer it is than smoking. This omission fails the most elementary rule of analysis whenever one is discussing the risks of e-cigarettes: Risky compared to what?”

Purporting to be the country’s most scientifically-sound report into the threats e-cigarettes pose to young people, it comes up woefully short and gives a fundamentally dishonest impression of the state of use and risks of vaping.

Man smoking e-cigarette

“These products are now the most commonly used form of tobacco among youth in the United States,” Surgeon General Vivek Murthy warns ominously. This language appears designed to sow maximum possible confusion about what e-cigarettes are and their dangers relative to tobacco cigarettes.

It is flat out wrong to describe vaping as a “form of tobacco use.” E-cigarettes contain zero tobacco and are up to 95 percent safer than regular cigarettes, according to the United Kingdom’s Royal College of Physicians. To imply the risks of vaping are in any way equivalent to the risks of smoking is a severe misrepresentation of the truth.

murthy

The report makes great play of the surge in e-cigarette use among high school students. While the data cited are accurate, its presentation gives a highly misleading picture of teen e-cigarette use.

Murthy highlights data on middle and high school students who have ever used e-cigarettes or have used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days, showing dramatic increases since 2011. What Murthy doesn’t make clear is that the vast majority of teens using e-cigarettes do so only occasionally or experimentally.

Only around 1 percent of high schoolers vape daily. Many of them use vaping products with zero nicotine, which is the principal focus of the report’s health concerns.

The report also takes great pains to stress the strong association between youth vaping and youth smoking. But this association should come as a surprise to no one, as a high proportion of those young people vaping are also smokers or are among those most likely to smoke. The way the report presents this association, one would think vaping is very likely a gateway to smoking...(read more)

Source: Washington Examiner

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