It seems there is never a week that goes by without some study being produced that can be used against the e-cigarette industry. This week it was the turn of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) who claim that 43.9% of American teens who use e-cigarettes are likely to smoke regular cigarettes within the next year. As usual the study makes mention of the fact that e-cigarettes can have candy and fruit flavourings that appeal to young people. Their fear is that e-cigarettes are just another way of getting under-18s hooked on nicotine.
Now this whole business of the e-cigarette industry aiming marketing at under-18s is something that continually crops up whenever industry critics fancy having a moan. But don’t these critics ever visit shops that concentrate on selling e-cigarettes? If they did then they might be playing a very different tune. I went for a walk downtown last weekend and saw one shop and three street stalls, all selling e-cigarettes. None of them had any under-18s as customers and there was one very good reason for that being the case. They all had signs that said they wouldn’t be selling e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 18. Last week we gave you a story about a vaping shop that had a sign on its front door stressing the fact that sales to under-18s would not be taking place on the premises.
So here we have an industry that doesn’t go round selling e-cigarettes to under-18s but are constantly criticized for aiming their marketing at that age group. It seems rather pointless to be spending money on advertising and then barring selling to them, Of course the fact is that just like under-18s somehow end up drinking beer when they’re under-age, they still manage to get their hands on cigarettes, whatever kind they are. It’s called experimenting and trying to be a bit adult before your time.
The CDC claim that twice as many teens used e-cigarettes in 2012 than in the previous year. But isn’t that actually a promising sign? Would you rather have teenagers experimenting with using cigearettes going down the tobacco route rather than using the much safer e-cigarettes now available? Will they use tobacco cigarettes in the future? Well whether they do or not isn’t really down to the e-cigarette industry is it? Hopefully those who do want to smoke will read all the positive studies that are published and decide that it’s best to use a product that is a lot safer rather than having immense health problems caused by smoking tobacco cigarettes.
The CDC study has already met with criticism from the American Vaping Association, a trade group that represents the e-cigarette industry. They described the CDC study as “plain deceptive” and calling for the paper’s retraction. Gregory Conley, the Association’s president said: “There is no evidence e-cigarettes are gateways to smoking, and in fact, for millions of Americans they are anti-tobacco protects.” An analysis of the study concluded that teens who said they would “probably not” try cigarettes were counted as likely future smokers, the association said. “Even worse, the CDC failed to disclose this in its press release, which led to hundreds of news sources identifying e-cigarettes as a gateway to cigarettes, Conley said.
It’s so easy to make statistics say exactly what you want them to, even if the truth is distorted. Can’t the critics of e-cigarettes work out that it’s much better to have people using a product that is far less dangerous than tobacco cigarettes? Can’t they work out that industries that won’t sell to under-18s can hardly be seen to be aiming their marketing at that age group? Sometimes the accusations that critics of this industry make simply don’t hold water and this is a prime example.