Recently, a new anti-vaping bill was introduced to the US Congress threatening to ban all online sales and flavored liquids. Two teams of scientists also came out with a claim that they have found new evidence of the fabled “gateway effect” as well as fresh proofs to confirm that vaping has some harmful effects on the lungs. These two, for various reasons, are going a lot further than the evidence actually leads. However, on a more positive side, a randomized trial was finally carried out to compare NRT and e-cigs. Without any surprise, e-cigs win by a mile.
Congress eyes online sales ban
The new bill introduced to the Congress would place a restriction on internet sales of vapor products- the backbone of the vape industry- and banning of most flavors. If the bill is passed, it will cause a devastating effect on the sales of reduced-harm products and cause many smokers not to have an alternative that can actually help them.
The new bill stands as one of the most widely known tobacco control bills to surface recently and it is described as the “Youth Vaping Prevention Act of 2019.” It spans a wide range of new laws including mail delivery of cigars and the interstate sales of vapor products. There would be a new tax structure on e-cigarettes and an increase for cigars. There would also be a restriction on any flavorings, but menthol cigarettes are exempted. All e-liquids would disappear except tobacco flavors.
DeLauro has earlier introduced this bill but was not passed. This new bill was introduced by a Democratic representative from Connecticut named Rosa DeLauro but the bill hasn’t got much support. Her last one got four supports but the current anti-vaping climate is likely to get stronger support. All harm reduction advocates need to be prepared to fight every step of this ban process.
Gateway claim rises from the grave again
Just this last week, another study was again released bout the supposed gateway effect. According to the author, the tendency of teens that use vaping products to start smoking cigarettes is high- and they say, this is major because vaping steers kids towards tobacco.
It’s not surprising that there are many studies comparing the smoking and youth uptake of vaping products, but unfortunately, they keep getting it wrong. The data used by this team, from Boston was obtained from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study (PATHS). The questionnaires used by PATHS ask participant which products they used first. They used the questionnaires repeatedly with the group of people as before and this is unlike the National Youth Survey data used by many previous studies.
The data showed the teenagers who were confirmed to use e-cigs at the first survey were more likely to smoke cigarettes two years later than those who had never used any nicotine product. This made the researchers conclude that e-cigarettes can induce the urge to smoke.
However, there is a mistake of mixing up correlation and causation. There is still no valid proof to show why someone would move from vaping to something that’s more dangerous, more expensive and less pleasant. It is also possible those teens that use vaping products are more likely to try other products too.
New study claims e-cig flavors harm lungs
A team from Harvard has recently found that the two flavorings used in e-liquids- 2, 3- pentanediol and diacetyl- may harm the lungs when inhaled. However, there is still no confirmed association between bronchiolitis obliterans (Popcorn lung) and diacetyl but this study claims that it has a negative effect on the hair-like cilia responsible for protecting the lung airways.
Researchers fail to realize that the vapor industry has worked to reduce or eliminate diacetyl and 2, 3-pentane dione from its products and they are less common than the 90% prevalence claimed by researchers. Their level in vapor products is far less than that found in cigarette smoke.
E-cigs “twice as effective” as NRT
The first randomized clinical trial comparing traditional nicotine with e-cigarettes in terms of effectiveness proved that what vapers have been saying for years- e-cig is an effective smoking-cessation tool. The study was conducted by Researchers in London’s Queen Mary University and it observed how smokers were able to quit smoking within a year.
The participants were divided into two groups. One group got a supply of their chosen NRT while the other got an e-cig starter kit. After one year, 18% of the e-cig group was smoke-free while 9.9 % of the NRT group was proven by biochemical test to be smoke-free.