How studies on vaping are used against vaping

woman vaping

Tabloid newspapers and mainstream magazines have shared a fair amount of coverage on the subject of vaping over the years. Some of the articles published have been factual, and accurate. However, the large majority of articles printed are filled to the brim with misinformation and inaccurate information about vaping.

The latest article that has appeared in a magazine, and in turn, several other websites and media sources started with the headline “More teens are vaping within 5 minutes of waking” a clever rhyming headline I’ll give them that, but what are they basing this headline off? And is it actual fact, or more fabrication? Let’s take a look shall we…

More teens are vaping within 5 minutes of waking

A study was released earlier this month (November 2022) looking at “Nicotine Addiction and Intensity amongst Adolescents between 2014-2021” and this study was carried out to see what relation e-cigarettes had to the nicotine addiction levels amongst adolescents and looked at various other questions relating to the topic of e-cigarettes. And this is where they unearthed that more teens are opting to reach for their vape within the first five minutes of waking up and using it. But where has this word “more” come from, and what does more mean in comparison to what they’re using? It’s such an open statement, as for example, there could have been one teen doing it in 2015, and now there’s two teens doing it, so that means there’s more than before.

Of course, the number isn’t just one and two, and it’s not as simple as that. If it was, I wouldn’t have much to write about really! Looking at the study, they don’t actually use the word more themselves, instead it’s been plucked out of thin air by the media outlet, and mashed together with some other keywords, and voila! We have another potential birthing of an example of a misleading article title with likely more misinformation to follow. The “five minutes” claim is merely a part of their article, it’s not a conclusion based on the data that’s showing. Didn’t take me long to work that out from what I read.

But I dive a bit further into this report as I might be proven wrong that this isn’t a veiled attempt at misinformation, and as I read further into this study, it was then disclosed that this was actually an analysis of the previously published National Youth Tobacco Survey that’s conducted in America every year. And this then led me to think, could they just be cherry picking out parts of the study to make their own article sound justified rather than giving the entire range of facts and figures?  

Further look into teen vaping in the USA

So, we look further into this analysis, and are met with some interesting facts. The first of which is slightly concerning, but at the same time, can be kind of seen as a positive thing, in the fact that by 2019, more adolescents were “addicted” to e-cigarettes and vaping than combustible cigarettes and all other tobacco related products combined. So on the bad side, adolescents being addicted to vaping. However, on the good side, there’s now less smoking prevalence amongst this age demographic in the USA.

This is where it starts to unravel for the media outlet that published the original headline article. They made the statement that was apparently “fact-checked” that 10.3% of youths are using an e-cigarette within their first 5 minutes of waking. It comes as no surprise to me, but this isn’t true. Instead, the actual statistic is that it’s 10.3% of those who actually use e-cigarettes at all that are reaching first thing more it.

So rather than it being 10.3% of the whole youth population as they’re making out, it’s actually 10.3% of the youths who are using e-cigarettes, which believe me is a drastically different number to what this publication is making out it is. Another fine example of misinformation in it’s most prominent form!

disposables

Pointing the finger at Disposables and Nicotine Salts yet again

The article continues and leads on to more finger pointing towards Disposable vapes, as well as the e-liquid that is contained within these units.

If you didn’t already know, the USA had a massive teen vaping “epidemic” which all stemmed from the release of JUUL and the insane rate of which the popularity of them increased. Youth vaping between 2017-2019 was astronomical, with the majority of those vaping using a JUUL device, that features disposable prefilled pods. And I’d argue this was the first real “boom” for popularity of a vaping product.

In 2019, the numbers of adolescents vaping did start to dwindle down as there was more being done in the USA to combat this. However, statistics show that those who are still vaping are doing it a lot more intensively than before, i.e using their vape more frequently throughout the day. But what I don’t get is this publication then pointed their finger at “protonated nicotine” being the cause of these problems. If you didn’t know, it’s another name for nicotine salts, which is what the vape juice in all disposables are made with.

Of course, what article about teen vaping would be complete without some finger pointing and blame shaming on Disposable vapes?! They have caused a lot of trouble, there’s no doubt about it, but it seems that this publication has just picked up on them at the first given opportunity and fell back on to the classic suggestions of localised, state-wide, and federated regulations on the availability and freedom to use these devices. They briefly speak about the nicotine concentration in these vapes being what’s getting youths addicted, but they fail to mention the fact that the nicotine concentrations in Disposables over in the states, is 2 and a half times the strength of the disposables we have on sale here in the UK. 

The point of this article

I don’t quite grasp the concept of why this publication was released, as it really serves no benefit or even factual evidence for the title of it. As I explained, the statistic they used and was apparently “fact-checked” was actually factually incorrect on their part, as they exploited an actual statistic and made it sound worse than it actually was. Which is the common problem seen when it comes to articles being printed hell bent on misinforming people about vaping and making it out like it is the devil itself.

This study they looked at showed so much data and statistics on vaping, a lot of it could have easily been used in a more positive publication, instead of what was produced which was an outright anti-vaping publication that was absolutely unnecessary to be printed.