Letter: Faulty reading of stats on e-cigarettes
Re “E-cigarettes may pose new health threat” (Monitor editorial, Sept. 9):
The Concord Monitor’s view of electronic cigarettes is guided by a faulty interpretation of Centers for Disease Control data on youth usage.
The CDC study found that approximately 3 percent of high school students had taken at least one puff from an e-cigarette in the 30 days prior. Meanwhile, the CDC also reports that 38 percent of high schoolers had used alcohol – which like e-cigarettes comes in an assortment of flavors fruit and candy flavors – in the past 30 days. There is still no evidence that any significant number of nonsmoking youth are using e-cigarettes regularly.
When looking at addictive products like nicotine, it is daily use that is time and time again found to be the largest predictor of future nicotine or tobacco usage. Had the CDC surveyed daily use or even “20 days of month” use, a more accurate picture would have undoubtedly emerged showing that while teens were experimenting with e-cigarettes, regular use was insignificant.
E-cigarettes comes in flavors because of demand by adult consumers. The Monitor criticized e-cigarette company Blu Cigs for marketing flavors, but the newspaper may not be aware that to use those flavor cartridges, consumers must purchase a starter kit that retails for more than $70.
In 2014, the remaining 24 states that have not banned e-cigarette sales to minors should do so. However, policy-makers should resist calls by misguided organizations to enact further restrictions or punitive taxes on these products in light of the clear fact that they are helping many smokers quit or substantially reduce their smoking habit.
(The writer is legislative director for the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association, representing users of e-cigarettes.)