Why Should We Be Alarmed When Teenaged Smokers Try E-Cigarettes?


Last week Katherine Mangu-Ward noted a CDC report on e-cigarette use by teenagers. She pointed out that the increase in consumption viewed with alarm by CDC Director Tom Frieden—"high school students using e-cigarettes within the past 30 days rose from 1.5 percent to 2.8 percent"—may reflect little more than experimentation. She also mentioned, lest we forget, that the health hazards of vaping pale beside those of smoking. Boston University public health professor Michael Siegel digs into the data and makes another important point: "Among youth who experimented with electronic cigarettes in 2012, the overwhelming majority—90.6%—were smokers." Hence the trend that Frieden portrays as a looming public health disaster may instead portend the opposite: successful harm reduction by people who would otherwise smoke conventional cigarettes, which are far more dangerous because of all those nasty toxins and carcinogens that tobacco generates when it's burned.

Siegel, who for years has been criticizing e-cigarette alarmism as a disservice not only to truth but to smokers who could dramatically reduce their health risks by switching, also notes the dearth of evidence to support Frieden's fear that e-cigarettes will lure people into smoking. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) is so excited about that possibility that he goes off on an illogical rant that Siegel quotes:

Electronic cigarettes as marketed today—with flavors like bubblegum and strawberry—are targeted at young people with the very clear intent of creating a new generation of smokers. Without question, tobacco companies are using the same despicable tactics with e-cigarettes that they used in previous decades with traditional cigarettes to lure youth down a path of nicotine addiction and eventual death.

Leaving aside the demonstrably false notion that fruity flavors appeal only to minors, Blumenthal is so focused on condemning tobacco- and smoke-free e-cigarettes as the latest incarnation of Big Tobacco that he does not pause to consider whether what he is saying makes any sense. It does not, as Siegel points out:

The clear intention of electronic cigarette marketers is to sell as many electronic cigarettes as they can, not as many cigarettes as they can. In fact, of the more than 250 companies now on the general market, only one even sells cigarettes in the first place. Blumenthal's assertion, therefore, is not only unsubstantiated but preposterous.

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  1. I’ll be honest with you. Every time I think of a teenager smoking an e-cig, I lose control of my bladder.

    1. If she smokes, she pokes.

      1. Quit living in the past man. Kids are all about the vape now.

        Let’s see. If she vapes, she….

        1. So e-cigs turn you into Warty?

          1. Why do you think Blumenthal is throwing such a fit about them?

        2. Capes.

          Cape-ing is the draping of one’s outer labia on a person’s forehead. The female version of tea bagging.

        3. Tapes.

          So make sure you know where the cameras are and whether they are on.

        4. She Gapes… Come on guys, that should have been the first thing anyone thought of.

  2. Blumenthal’s assertion, therefore, is not only unsubstantiated but preposterous.

    Of course it is, it’s Blumenthal, the Elliot Spitzer of Connecticut. He is an absolute shitheel and will take any opportunity whatsoever to grandstand, especially if it’s “for the children”.

  3. The age for everything should just be 15. If there has to be an age for anything.

    1. Except for marriage. Kids shouldn’t be able to get married until they are 45.

      1. They should be able to get gay married if they want to at 15, though.

        1. If you mean they should be required to get gay married at 15, then I agree.

          1. Yes, yes, that’s what I meant. What’s the point of non-compulsory anything, right?

            1. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth being forced to do by the government.

              1. So you’re saying that the government should force everyone to watch Tim and Eric’s Awesome Show.

                Great job!

            2. Also it helps further the goal of destroying traditional marriage with oily, muscular gay sex.

              1. Sounds good to me. Hugh, will you rub some oil on my back before we get started?

                1. Nope. Prepare yourself, because I’m going in dry.

                    1. This thread is way more interesting than the TFA one where a random new commenter and Acosmist are calling people liars.

                    2. Especially since I couldn’t even understand what the new poster’s point even is.

                      But on the bright side I’m going to go see The World’s End in a few hours. I was hoping Hugh would go with me and give me a handie in the theater but he had a previous engagement with a glory hole.

                    3. Bah. I want to see it but the only friend who is both available and hasn’t already seen it twice is a flaky motherfucker.

                    4. Plus I would never be caught dead in a theater playing a Pegg/Frost movie.

                    5. Bullshit. Your glory hole is in this theater’s bathroom! By the way, you’ll know it’s me when you smell the meatballs. I put extra garlic in them.

            3. Made me laugh so hard.

        1. Like anything else, the smart people just won’t ever get married.

    2. my question why is there an age for anything? I find the whole age thing way over the top in most cases. Video games and porn is probably the most ridiculous ones i have ever heard of.

  4. Being alarmed is what we do, darlin’.

  5. flavors like bubblegum and strawberry

    I must be too tall to notice the kids’ counter, because every store I visit sells only “regular” and “menthol”.

  6. This is actually the best job Ive had. I work at Home with Google. I’ve made $64,000 so far this year working online and I’m a full time student. Moreover, My Uncle Carson got a stunning gold Porsche Cayenne Hybrid only from working part time off a pc. Official website

    1. If Uncle Carson got a gold Porsche, he’s a tasteless knob.

      If he got a hybrid Porsche, he’s a stupid tasteless knob who completely missed the point of owning a Porsche.

      1. But it doesn’t show the dirt as bad.

      2. The Cayenne hybrid is faster than the base model – and only 1.5 seconds slower to 60 than a base 911.

        (Purists would say the Cayenne is itself “missing the point”, but one can equally say that there’s no point beyond “being seen in a Porsche” to the vast majority of the buying market.

        I guarantee that Cayenne can run rings around any 911 before 1974, in the “classic” era.)

      3. A Cayenne is one of those cars that I’ve never been stuck behind (as opposed to every Prius ever). Say what you want about them, but at least their drivers tend to mash the gas.

  7. I’ll be in my bunk… unless that’s a teenager in the picture, then I’ll be in my bunk watching reruns of Hogan’s Heroes.

  8. These people are such idiots that they don’t realize that teenagers vaping is a sign of the totality of their victory in this particular culture war.

  9. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) is so excited about that possibility that he goes off on an illogical rant

    Aren’t illogical rants kind of his thing?

  10. I know this is late but I want to point out that the reason most e-cigs use fruity flavors is because the tobacco flavored ones taste awful.

  11. Duluth stole a march on Minneapolis progs and banned e-cigs recently.

    Awesome quote:

    “From a distance, I would argue you can’t tell the difference. So how can you go to this one person and say ‘oh, that’s tobacco, you’re out of here’ and ‘oh wait, that’s not, that’s an e-cigarette so you can stay?'” she asked. “Once you start picking and choosing what’s allowed, that’s a slippery slope you go down.”

    Yes if we start allowing things, it is a slippery slope. Holy fuck that is stupid.

    And as a commenter pointed out: I thought these guys were nauseated by a whiff of smoke in an outdoor stadium. Now you are telling me you really can’t tell the difference?

    1. I seriously hope that cunt dies of lung cancer from smelling her own farts.

  12. My experience has been that the kids use vaping as a way to be dicks out in public which is likely the goal of any teenager worth their salt.

    Amusingly though, the last time I encountered a teenager vaping was standing in line at disney world waiting for a ride and it seems to me that if you really want to be a rebellious prick, sucking in flavored nicotine vapor while paying homage to the mouse at the happiest place on earth is rather pathetic. Given Walt’s love for nicotine he probably would have even approved.

  13. Why Should We Be Alarmed When Teenaged Smokers Try E-Cigarettes?

    Because kids should do as they’re told. If they choose to do something on their own, particularly if they’re doing it to thumb their noses at adults, there must be something wrong with it.

    It’s for the children.

    Thank you for your compliance.[/snark]

    1. Compliance. Great movie.

  14. It was likely one of the worst advertising blunders imaginable for the e-cig makers to call them e-cigs in the first place.

    They need to draw away from the perspective these are in fact cigarettes at all. That task was made more difficult and foreign to the proponents of denormalization and dehumanization of smokers. The entitled bigotry that has emerged as the most popular form of editorial blood sports. If e-cigs were named anything but cigarettes they would likely be seeing the Betty Crocker seal of approval, across the Public Health industry, as marginal but acceptable forms of alternatives. The current lockstep with the “medications” which are in reality identical products, that do not help smokers to quit, as well as they deflect interest from smoking, has many in the medical field and Public health “Movement”[cult] obliged to shill for the company that created their promotional voice and allowed them the power over elected officials. To go as far afield of their normally pragmatic perspectives, to accept theoretic science, in place of real science to support smoking bans and the “significant risk of tobacco smoke” that never truly existed in the real world. A corruption by euphemistic whimsy,in place of structured science, which also allows them to perceive these new entrants into the nicotine delivery market sector, as another form of cigarette, as opposed to another alternative.

  15. cont…

    A new form of alternatives as well, that are actually cracking the consumer acceptance nut. As the one component, that their favored “medications” were never able to achieve. Even with their own “child friendly flavors” and cartoon devils in the ads they presented to sell their gummy patchy snake oil. The medications that fail to achieve what is advertised, far more than quitting cold turkey without them. Indicating that the Public Health Movement [cult] protests, are in support of products that do harm more often than not, when used as directed. Hardly a fact that draws us to maintain the once blind faith and trust, in everything that these so called “professionals” have to tell us. Having been so long away from the sciences, we thought foolishly, that they still represented.

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