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E-cig use among kids doubles in England ; enthusiasts still trying to ignore it

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February 27, 2019

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD



E-cig use among kids doubles in England ; enthusiasts still trying to ignore it


After years of arguing that people didn’t need to worry about increasing e-cig use among kids in England, because of the different (from the USA) regulatory environment, e-cig cheerleading Public Health England announced e-cig use among kids doubled in the last 4 years.  And that was before Juul invaded.


As expected, the Public Health England (a government agency) minimized the effect, as did, ASH England and other e-cig enthusiasts minimized this huge increase on the grounds that few kids were “regular” e-cig users.  This argument ignores the fact that the evidence (collected by e-cig enthusiasts!) shows that among kids who use tobacco in England, more than half are initiating nicotine use with e-cigs and any e-cig use predicts future smoking.  Indeed, the “gateway” effect in England is about 12, compared to 3-4 in the USA. 


And even if the kids did not add cigarettes later, bathing developing brains in nicotine is a very bad thing because the neurological changes are permanent. 


This argument that “experimentation” with cigarettes among kids is not important is something that the tobacco industry has used for a long time to try and minimize youth smoking.  Lauren Dutra and I showed that any cigarette smoking among young teens predicts smoking in their 20’s.


At least the media is figuring out that this is a problem.  Here is some of the coverage:





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