In an article from slate
Unfortunately, the report provides very little new info and presents what we knew about youth e-cigarette use in a sense that verges on deceitful.
For example, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy asserts youth vaping is a “kind of tobacco use.” This really is just incorrect; e-cigarettes contain absolutely no tobacco. Moreover, the report neglects to mention that e-cigarettes are not likely to exceed 5 percent of the dangers related to smoking, in line with the Royal College of Physicians.
The Washington Post repeated Murthy’s claim unchallenged saying “e-cig are the most often employed form of tobacco among young folks.” The New York Times was also not overly critical of the claim reporting “e-cig are the most popular tobacco product among youths.”
Nothing could be further from the reality. While it is right to point out at that e-cigarette use among young people surged from 2011, Murthy fails to highlight some critical facts.
We should’ve found an explosion in teen cigarette smoking, if vaping was in any way a gateway to smoking, but instead, we’ve seen the precise opposite. Obviously, it would be preferable if minors didn’t use either vapor goods or standard cigs, but if young people are choosing for vaping instead of smoking that is certainly a win for public health.
Another section of the graphic conspicuous by its absence is that the vast majority of teens using cigarette do so only occasionally or experimentally. Just around 1 percent of high schoolers vape day-to-day.
But if you should read the L.A. Times coverage of the report you would be left with a very distinct impression (differing from the impression left on your typical review website) with the paper asserting “many of these pupils are vaping on a regular basis.” The basis for this claim being that 16 percent of high school students in 2016 tried vaping at least once in the last 30 days.
The Surgeon General’s report and the media ’s deferential reaction to it are a portion of a bigger narrative that’s hostile to e-cigarettes, prizing nicotine abstinence above all else.
But by discounting the advantages, simply reporting the possible harms of vaping and neglecting to explain its danger relative to smoking the media lose the whole point of e-cigarettes — widespread tobacco harm reduction.
This form of coverage has real consequences for the way the people perceive the dangers of vaping and smoking. The percentage of smokers who think cigarette are equally as harmful as tobacco cigs tripled between 2012 and 2015 to 35 percent. This really is despite overwhelming evidence that the e-cigarettes are safer than tobacco cigarettes and are helping millions of adults to cease smoking.