"Vaping: the latest scourge in drug abuse” is the headline CNN used to describe the recent report coming out of the journal of Pediatrics that “high school kids in the US are using e-cigarettes to smoke cannabis” another ‘genuine’ headline, from another American news source. First of all, no one can smoke e cigarettes. This is scientifically impossible as no physical combustion takes place in the atomisation of e-cigarettes, nothing to light on fire and no smoke produced. Vape – yes, smoke – no. The wording is important because the words they’ve chosen taint the image of e-cigarettes by lumping them in with bad smoking products. At a time when Public Health England has called for a unified change in the language used to describe e cigarettes to distance them from smoking products, suggesting calling them nicotine sticks or nicotine control products.
We must remember that the actions of a handful of individuals cannot discount a whole industry. There will always be some people who take liberties and misuse a product and it would be unfair to label an industry based on this. The whole idea of e-cigarettes are to get people to quit smoking, not attract people to start. Though there was a substantial number of participants, this is a one off study, and more research needs to be undertook in different states to really have some clout. After all, some laws are different throughout America with cannabis being legal in certain states, like Denver where vaping is considered“the future of pot”, but with e-cigarettes currently caught in the centre of scrutiny and FDA policy decisions, the vaporising cannabis debate can wait.
Furthermore, teenagers and adults alike have been smoking marijuana longer than tobacco itself, so this is nothing new, in fact bongs, a larger paraphernalia to vaping devices, have been used for centuries to smoke marijuana, yet no one has batted an eyelid. Vapourlites, of course, do not condone the use of any e-cigarette or vaping device to be used to consume any illegal drug. That being said, the excessive beating e-cigarettes have experienced in the press is exhausting. There seems to be a new study being released every week to further the controversy and the media are always quick to jump on a bashing story without regard for the authenticity of a studies claims.
So let’s look at the results
The study included 3847 high school students from five schools in Connecticut. The abstract of the study says “Of concern, e-cigarettes can be used to vaporize cannabis, although use rates among adolescents are unknown.” Therefore the study evaluated lifetime rates because they do not know how many “adolescents” regularly vaporise cannabis. Of lifetime e-cigarettes users, 18% had vaporised cannabis at some point. At some point… this does not mean that these users currently vaporise cannabis or are regularly lighting up at all, it simply shows that they have tried it. Something much less alarming than the International Business Times headline insinuates that “a fifth of US students using e-cigarettes to vaporise cannabis”.
“Are e-cigarettes safe?”
Is a constant question posed in the media, and so far there isn’t any evidence which can answer this outright. The issue with asking this question is that those asking it know the answer already, so it is heaped in bias. Yes they aren’t 100% safe, but they are an effective stop smoking solution and time will tell what the future of e-cigarette research will bring us. Nevertheless, as proven in the Public Health England report, e-cigarettes are 95% safer than cigarettes. So it remains the lesser of two evils, and not by a small margin.