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A CDC & FDA Propaganda Campaign

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Recently, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), cited specific numbers from the CDC’s (Center for Disease Control’s) National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) that was used to crush the Vaping industry with oppressive regulations. In 2014, two hundred and five schools voluntarily participated along with 22,007 students in grade 6-12 in the NYTS.

Being curious, we, at the EVCA (Electronic Vaping Coalition of America) thought we would review the report to look for strengths and weaknesses.  Here is what we found:

  • Tobacco use can vary greatly by location through greater community acceptance. For instance, in tobacco states like Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, one would expect greater use of tobacco -or- in states where the tax rate on cigarettes is cheaper and thereby easier to gain access to cigarettes one would expect a greater use of tobacco. One would think that the CDC would make available the names and locations of the schools and the participation rate at each school so there would be no question of questionable results being weighted in the favor of those that seek to demonize smoking. But alas, when contacted, the CDC said they would not make this data publicly available. Why?
  • Without the locations of the schools and knowing which ones took the survey and the participation rate, how is anyone able to make the determination that this is a survey is truly representative of tobacco use by children/students. Could the numbers be unfairly manipulated by using schools where tobacco use is more acceptable and where it is legal for minors to purchase vaping products?
  • There is the question of the integrity of the survey itself. Many schools benefit from a tax on tobacco products. Because there is no independent audit of the survey there is nothing that we can find that would stop a teacher, principal, or superintendent from filling out forms for fictitious students. The surveys are anonymous and with no audit in place, how is the integrity of the data maintained? When there is a potential benefit for those administering the test based upon a certain outcome there is always a spectre for the potential of rigging the results. It really is just like the fox guarding the hen house.
  • As far as the questionable e-cigarette use goes it would be helpful to know if the supposed increase in vaping among children occurs in schools within states that make it legal for minors to buy e-cigarettes. Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Montana, North Dakota, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Maine and Washington D.C. all allow minors to buy e-cigarettes and vaping supplies. While the FDA’s mission is to protect the health of American citizens it is not supposed to do so at the expense of states rights. While many in the industry welcome the 18-year-old threshold to buy vaping products there is always the question of the FDA overstepping its boundaries.
  • The Secretary of Health and Human Services made the public claim that there is an increase in the use of e-cigarettes by more than 900%
  • Yet the FDA using the same data says it is only an 800% increase Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 9.08.58 PM but….. because vapers are displacing smokers due to it being a healthier activity you would expect an increase. But which is it? Over 900% or is it 800%
  • Would we not of expected explosive growth of nicotine gum when it was first introduced? Should vaping be considered any different than nicotine gum in regards to it having nicotine and that it is not smoking and is healthier?
  • Why doesn’t the tobacco survey include nicotine gum and nicotine patches, there are those that are addicted to the gum and to the patch. There could be a comparison between nicotine gum, the patch, and vaping products?

We would like to know why none of the results from the survey have been made available in Microsoft Excel format. A format that most of the known world on a desktop computer or laptop can easily access. Instead, the CDC made the results only available in MS Access and SAS formats. Are they counting on no one reviewing their data by making it more inconvenient to access?

Fortunately, we have MS Access and saved the data in an excel spreadsheet.

Through various Excel spreadsheet sorts, we have found of the 205 schools that participated in the survey and 22,007 students, that 4,214 of those taking the survey claimed to have used e-cigarettes. Through our experience we have found that most Congressmen do not know what an e-cigarette is – so how do we know that these children answered the questions in the NYTS with any degree of accuracy?

Of those 4,214 supposed users of e-cigarettes, only 1,488 e-cigarette users never smoked a cigarette. This could likely mean that the other 2,726 traditional cigarette smokers are trying to quit or adopt a healthier habit by turning to e-cigarettes. That is good news, right?

But lets focus on those 1,488 supposed e-cigarette users that have never smoked a cigarette.

Of the 1,488 e-cigarette users that never smoked a cigarette, 451 of them have claimed to smoke cigars. That could mean 451 cigar smokers are trying to quit smoking by using e-cigarettes. Ninety-four of the 1,488 e-cigarette users that never smoked a cigarette also never smoked a cigar but did use smokeless tobacco products like chew. This potentially could mean 94 tobacco chewers were trying to use vaping to quit chewing. That leaves about 1,000 children (943 to be exact) that use e-cigarettes and have never used any tobacco products of any kind (4.5%).

Furthermore, the NYTS shows that only 960 students had used an e-cigarette  1-2 times in the last 30 days before the survey was taken. Signifying that about 4.5% of students may be casual vapers that are not addicted (would you call someone an alcoholic if they only had 2 beers in the last 30 days?). Of course, since we do not know the states in which the tests were taken, it is entirely possible those 4.5% of child vapers are vaping in states that legally allowed children to vape at the time the NYTS was taken.

What is most disconcerting is the data that is patently false and misleading that the CDC and FDA presents to the public that illustrates they have an axe to grind with vapers.

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 9.42.51 PM

Never happened. The above infographic is a fabricated lie. Legally they could say it is estimated that 4.6 million students reported being current tobacco users. The CDC has never had 4.6 million students report on anything. Just 22,007 in the NYTS and even that number is suspect. How accurate is a survey that depends on children giving us accurate answers.

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 9.42.33 PM

Again, these two infographics are total fabrications and are designed to unfairly misrepresent the facts. These are estimations based upon data collected by those that have an interest in crushing the vaping industry.

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 9.08.58 PM

This infographic leads to a factual misrepresentation. E-cigarette use is a healthier alternative to cigarettes and its use is up but traditional cigarette use is down and that has led to a healthier lifestyle for students.

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 8.31.57 PM

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 9.43.21 PM

The typical man on the street would interpret these infographics as e-cigarette surpassing the use of traditional cigarettes by students. That is not at all the case, traditional cigarette use still far exceeds e-cigarette use in the NYTS.

The FDA and CDC should not be in the business in distorting the perception of a private industry. They should only be in the business in reporting the facts and the facts are that the data they are using is highly suspect. They should be producing data in an unbiased and scientific manner to have any credibility.

Once a danger to the public has been established, only then should they act to protect the public. They have not established a danger to the public yet they moved to close down an industry, that if anything, showed it was helping public health.

A realistic determination of what is happening with youths and nicotine would be to have an open and transparent survey of adults 18-21 and survey them what their use of nicotine products (including gum and the patch) were when they were in school. This survey should be administered by an unbiased third party and the results should be audited by an independent source. Ideally, no undue weight would be given to a state that has a tradition or laws that would favor use of nicotine products my minors.

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