Thursday, August 31, 2017

Center for Tobacco Products is Lying to the Public About Youth Tobacco Use

This month, the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) updated a chart purporting to show trends in youth tobacco use over the past 5 years.

Here are the facts (i.e., the "true" facts) displayed in the chart:

1. Youth cigarette use (among high school students) dropped by a huge amount from 2011 to 2016.
2. Cigar use dropped substantially from 2011 to 2016.
3. Pipe use dropped substantially from 2011 to 2016.
4. Smokeless tobacco use dropped slightly from 2011 to 2016.
5. Hookah use was essentially the same in 2011 and 2016.

Given those facts, here is the key question:

What happened to overall use of tobacco among high school students during the time period 2011-2016?

It doesn't take any fancy math or statistics to figure out that overall tobacco use among high school students must have declined substantially from 2011 to 2016. Since youth cigarette use dropped by a huge amount, cigar use dropped substantially, pipe used dropped substantially, smokeless tobacco use didn't change  much, and hookah use didn't change much, it stands to reason that overall tobacco use went down substantially. There is no way that youth tobacco use went up or even stayed the same from 2011 to 2016 because it dropped substantially for three categories of use but didn't change much in the other two categories.

The Rest of the Story

But that is not what the Center for Tobacco Products chose to tell the public.

Here is what the Center for Tobacco Products titled the chart:

The CTP chose to tell the public that there was no significant decline in overall tobacco use over the past 5 years. However, as I showed above, that is simply not true. Youth tobacco use declined substantially.

So how does CTP justify this dishonesty?

It plays a trick on the public. It classifies e-cigarette use as a form of tobacco use and includes e-cigarette use in the totals for overall tobacco use. Since there was a huge increase in e-cigarette use from 2011 to 2016, CTP is able to completely undermine the fact that there was a dramatic drop in youth smoking, cigar use, and pipe use by adding youth who experimented with e-cigarettes. 

This is dishonest and inaccurate because e-cigarette use is not a form of tobacco use. The truth is -- and CTP knows this -- that e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco. In fact, the whole point of e-cigarettes is that they are an alternative to using tobacco. 

The rest of the story is that the Center for Tobacco Products is lying to the public. This is unfortunate because it risks losing the public's trust. It is also unfortunate because this deception could have deleterious public health effects, as misinforming people to think that e-cigarettes contain tobacco may dissuade many smokers from quitting and may even induce many ex-smokers to return to smoking. On top of all of this, it is - in my view- unethical to lie to the public, even if the aim were to discourage us from engaging in a potentially harmful behavior. I think the public deserves to know the truth. Someone has to start telling them the rest of the story. 

Note: Thanks to Clive Bates for alerting me to the deceptive headline in this dishonest communication. 


Alan Selk said...

The vast majority of the public perceives vaping as a form of tobacco use so the CDC's numbers are not without foundation.

Vaping does not contain whole leaf tobacco but it does contain nicotine, the main active ingredient in concentrations similar to tobacco. Classifying vaping as a form of tobacco use is not a gross miscalculation as you imply, but a logical conclusion.

jerry wayne said...

Where there is smoke there is fire .
I vape, and there literally is no smoke....public ignorance is not a factor in facts sir

Alan Selk said...

Jerry, what is your point, and just where is the public ignorance. Smoke has nothing to do with if it is considered a tobacco product. If it did then smokeless tobacco (a product that has vanishingly low risk at least as low as vaping, but you won't hear that from Siegel) would not be a tobacco product.

It is the high nicotine content of vaping, comparable to cigarettes, that is the reason it is counted as a tobacco product. That is pretty straight forward reasoning.

jerry wayne said...

Muddled straightforward reasoning without the facts, is what the misinformation is all about :

My point is you are like the people that think they know about ENDS (electronic Nicotine Delivery system )
E juices have several varying degrees of nicotine in different strengths. My wife's last e liquid had ZERO MG of nicotine in it, while i am at 0.3%, down from 1.2% when i first started using digress in strength or stop using the product altogether, or like my wife and so many others, quit altogether .After you get used to vaping, the flavors and there are many of them.... (i still like buttermilk pie myself ) and you just cannot stand the smell of smoke...I am 37 year X smoker thanks to this technology.
There is a company that makes synthetic nicotine tobacco in them at all...and you can extract nicotine from some vegetables also.
Almost identical effect from nicotine and caffeine, but nicotine has grown a bad rap because of the cancer from smoke, and the carcinogens created while setting anything on fire , and inhaling deep into the lungs and blood stream....this is my point Alan.

This is just a few select items that along with lying lobbyist and politico insiders , added to the states additivness to the tobacco tax and MSA agreement

Roberto Sussman Livovsky said...

It is irrelevant if e-cigs are a "tobacco product" or not. The key point is that the e-cig is a vastly safer product than the conventional cigarette. The important issue is that increasing vaping prevalence has coincided with decreased prevalence of cigarette smoking among adolescents, something that the CDC chooses to ignore (and thus deceive the public).

john walker said...

Alan it is very intentionally misleading of the FDA to use the same term : tobacco, for two qualitatively very different things: smoking and smokeless.

Alan Selk said...

I agree John Walker. The difference in risk between smokeless and smoke is so vast they are completely different products and should be regulated in completely different ways.

The problem is not that vaping is considered a tobacco product, but how tobacco is regulated.

Alan Selk said...

Jerry Wayne. If you want to be a freaking NRT then go through the clinical trials and get FDA approval. If you don't want to go that route then vaping is a tobacco product. If case you really want to know, I have been involved with this subject for over 8 years so there is likely little you could tell me I don't already know.

Unfortunately many in the vaping world are sounding eerily like the tobacco control industry the are claiming to be fighting.

The scenario appears to be, yes tobacco is bad bad bad, but we are not tobacco so please please be nice to us. How is that working out?

jerry wayne said...

Working out pretty dam great as a matter of fact.
I have 7 stores and have literally helped tens of thousands of people stop burning tobacco.
The FDA is seeing the light now that there is a new sheriff in town, and new advancements in the medical field and medicines are going to come to fruition sooner than they would have...

Vapor is going to get their shot , and have been granted a reprieve from political adversaries that were trying to put this life saving industry in the ground.

"but we are not tobacco so please please be nice to us " Not to be nice to us, just use some common sense which has sadly the lack therefore has already cost too many lives to count .Tobacco is the devil, and we are far from sainthood, but vapor is many time less harmful than fire .

As for sounding a little like big tobacco, YES, we are fighting fire with fire, and we are kicking major ass in the meantime.
Did you notice how the play on the word FIRE came in there.....its vapors strongest trait.

I am quite sure there is nothing in the world i could tell you that you dont already know....but seeing is believing, and i have been in this fight for 7 years already.

Alan Selk said...

Jerry, you misread the central point. I didn't say vaping advocates where sounding like big tobacco, I said vaping advocates are sounding eerily like the tobacco control industry they claim to be fighting. There is little difference between your statements and what is coming out of TC.

So in your view of the world tobacco is the devil, which is what I would expect to hear from the worst of tobacco control. Instead of quit or die, it appears to be vape or die. It looks like tobacco control 2.0 has reared its ugly head, and it is lead by vaping fanatics.

jerry wayne said...

Lead , follow , or get out of the way....i am fighting fire with fire.

Do not care if people smoke BTW...I see both sides while converting smokers to not.

The best job i never could have imagined.

Seeing this transformation on a daily basis is the advantage and view from my spot.

Were mostly not fanatics, just tired of being lied about, and its coming out of the woodwork now that the lies are true.....God bless sir.

I do get my back up when cornered , and i have been reading your posts for some time now. You seem like a nice person.

jerry wayne said...

I dont know what happened to the good doctor, but this blog hasn't seen a new post for way to long to be called a post any longer.....blowin in the wind....i liked this blog

God speed and thanks for all the information from multiple sources, some whom i admire for their wit, intelligence, and for the opposite of the aforementioned .

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