HALIFAX – As the debate continues…..


I read this article with growing consternation. I am afraid that regulatory bodies world-wide are repeating the same tire mantra with no consideration for the consequences of suppressing e cigarette use. I wish, here to discuss a couple of issues mentioned repeatedly in the article. The  banning their use in public places because it will serve as a bad example to young people, and the second, that there is not enough evidence.


But what worries Strang and other health officials the most is the possibility of e-cigarettes, with their futuristic glow and candy-like flavours, getting youth hooked on nicotine and acting as a gateway to tobacco products.




“We don’t really know what the trajectory is for these products,” she says. “Let’s not make the mistake of having too lax a regulatory regime and then find out 10 years from now that we’ve this generation of young people for whom this has become a bridge to nicotine addiction or smoking.”


What we are witnessing here are public health officials trying to create legislation as a precaution against some future risk and not based on the existence of a risk to health endorsed by clear scientific evidence. They are purely hypothetical considerations and are therefore not valid, and, depending on the law in Canada, not legitimate. If the law in Canada does not emphasise that precautionary measures be based on science, there is a glaring weakness in Canadian law.


So it seems that everything boils down to evidence. Is there or is there no satisfactory evidence on which to base these decisions?


 There exists a mass of evidence on which to base any legislation with regard to e cigarettes and their use.[1]  However, when you investigate, all of it points in one direction and that is towards the advantages that e cigarettes hold over conventional ones.


The gateway argument is a point in hand where hypothesis has taken the place of research. Not only is there no evidence that e cigarettes are proving to be a lure for young people, the existing mass of evidence shows that e-cigarettes are a gateway out of smoking not an introduction to smoking. I have said a mass of evidence, yes, and it grows day by day.[2],[3],[4] The one example of research that has claimed a frightening increase in e cigarette use by young people is the CDC report[5]. Here though, exponents of gateway theory have had to stretch the findings well beyond breaking point. As an example, they use the word, ‘used’ when they should have said, ‘tried.’[6] A simple little trick. And here is another, and that is the claim made by some that this report shows a doubling of e cig use among the young – absolute rubbish to the point of downright lying.



The most hyped claim from the CDC data, that “use” doubled between 2011 and 2012, referred to only the “one puff ever in your life” statistic, despite the fact that the CDC defined “use” as  “one puff in 30 days.”  Relative measures, like “double,” are often used in propaganda to hide the fact that the absolute numbers are unimpressive.  Among high school students (some of whom are old enough to legally buy tobacco), the number who tried an e-cigarette in the last month was less than 3% and for middle school students it was 1%, though the numbers are often spun to imply that the larger figure also applies to the younger children.  The number who made a regular practice of vaping is obviously smaller still, though CDC did not attempt to determine that. (Carl Phillips)[7]


The argument that e cigarettes are not serving, or will serve, as a gateway to smoking is pure hypothesis and not based on any research findings so far. Not only that, it defies common sense. I would add here that one of the main reasons for young people trying cigarettes is the risk factor. If you want a young person to defy you, just tell them it is dangerous, that is just for adults and then as a final attraction, hide it away out of site [I have left this spelling mistake in as a lesson to other careless bloggers] and try to place it out of reach –  I doubt there is not a parent of a teenager anywhere who does not know the truth of this.


As for evidence for other aspects of e cigarettes and their use, have a read of the following…  (And this is just a taster)




















And on, and on, and on, and on…………. No evidence? Phaw!

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