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Debunking Media Reports – Young people attracted to ecigs?

With a constant stream of poorly studied reports hitting the media to the detriment of the electronic cigarette industry; we had a few minutes to quickly undermine effectively the detritus that fills our newspapers. Sadly for every negative article in the mainstream media, one more smoker is scared off quitting proven deadly cigarettes. Our media should offer balance and give equal consideration to the flaws if present in a report they discuss. Such a shame that balanced headlines don’t sell so well.


From the Guardian this week – Tuesday 31st March

Scientists issue call for urgent controls on e-cigarette sales to children

Survey shows one in five teenagers in north-west England have bought or tried e-cigarettes and found a strong link to to binge drinking

In a survey of more than 16,000 teenagers in north-west England, the researchers found that one in five students aged 14 to 17 had bought or tried e-cigarettes. Many of those who dabbled with vaping were already regular smokers.

(Editor-> So here we see further down the article that in fact most of those who have tried e-cigarettes were in fact already previously smoking cigarettes. Far from being drawn to smoking by ecigs as some public officials have decided, albeit without evidence – the majority of this sample were already smokers. Could it be then that these young people had vaped to help them quit smoking? The article fails to discuss this point at any stage. This highlights the flaw in the entire study – it has been reported with a negative bias from the outset)

“The findings are very important,” said Martin McKee, professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine “They show a very rapid increase in uptake of electronic cigarettes among young people, with one in five having used them. They also show that there are more young people who are using them but who have never previously smoked, who, it is feared, may subsequently graduate to smoking, than there are ex-smokers using them.”

(Editor-> Martin McKee says these results are very important – he thinks they show a rapid increase in uptake of ecigs amongst young people, which he states may make them graduate to smoking. Given that the report shows only 1 in 20 of the young ecig users they spoke to – 5% – had tried an ecig without being a smoker and the remainder were already smokers, we would like to see the correlation between the argument and the absence of evidence to illustrate his unsubstantiated fears.

We will list them when he emails us with them.

In order to show a rapid uptake in vaping, he would first need to present data samples in periods previously that are fairly comparable. He hasn’t. The report does not show a rapid uptake of electronic cigarettes amongst young people beyond any argument that it is no different to the general growth in usage across the UK along with the industry’s growth. In short, there is no alarming spike for this sub group. Previously there wasn’t ecigs…… now there are)

Cancer Research UK states that 23% of young people have tried smoking at least once; this report says that 160 out of 16,000 people they spoke to had tried ecigs but never smoked. So that is 1% of young people have tried vaping but not previously been a smoker.

Hardly earth shattering results.

It leads a rational person to the following conclusions:

‘Sexy’ Promotion/advertising etc has very little bearing on whether young people smoke OR vape. More young people are smoking than using ecigs AND this is in an environment where electronic cigarettes can be advertised quite freely.

Cigarettes are banned in public places, have a ban on advertising, list grisly images on the boxes and are now facing plain packaging controls. YET they are still used more widely by a considerable margin of 1900%. We are told regularly how children are internet savvy, access modern social media streams regularly and are exposed to a mass of marketing proposals, yet in spite of this, 1 in 20 young underage vapers have avoided cigarettes. 

The report failed to ask these young vapers if they used an ecig to help them quit smoking or why they used an ecig over a cigarette. If the report was trying to ascertain anything other than a cheap headline, it baffles us, why they failed to consider these points. Imagine the hysteria if the report found kids had actually tried to quit their smoking habits with ecigs. 

Thanks for reading and share this on to those who may be interested. #TeamVape


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