Strong policy to protect…uh tobacco?

Not going to be about the bush with this one, not going to play nice. After all the evidence presented to date along with all the upcoming evidence certain organisations still don’t get it.

We, as vapers know unequivocally that there are certain organisations along with certain individuals that seek to dehumanize smokers, and by extension vapers. Who is it I’m picking on today then? 

The American Medical Association. Now if that sounds at all familiar, it should. It is effectively an American version of the BMA, and we know just how useless they are. What is worrying in this instance, is the seeming lack of math understanding. Bear with, and let’s take a look at the PR rubbish first.

With the growing popularity of electronic cigarettes among the nation’s youth, the American Medical Association (AMA) today adopted new policy to further strengthen its support of regulatory oversight of electronic cigarettes. The policy calls for the passage of laws and regulations that would: set the minimum legal purchase age for electronic cigarettes and their liquid nicotine refills at 21 years old; require liquid nicotine to be packaged in child-resistant containers; and urge strict enforcement of laws prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to minors.

So, it is the usual “all for the cheeldren” tactic that they so love to adopt. But hang on a moment, they are calling for the minimum purchase age for electronic cigarettes and refills to be 21. Not a word about the minimum age for tobacco then? Of course, many states are seeking to adopt the insane tobacco21 craziness anyway and the ever lovely Shannon*Sparkle*Vape covered this perfectly on her blog. So why purely pick on electronic cigarettes?  At a guess, I suspect there is some COI that hasn’t been declared.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey, e-cigarette use among middle and high school students tripled from 2013 to 2014. The survey data showed e-cigarette use among high school students increased from 4.5 percent in 2013 to 13.4 percent in 2014–an increase from approximately 660,000 to 2 million students. Among middle school students, the data indicated that e-cigarette use more than tripled from 1.1 percent in 2013 to 3.9 percent in 2014–an increase from approximately 120,000 to 450,000 students.

Here it is, here is where they make some mistakes. Unsurprisingly they rely on the data taken from the NYTS, which has already been thoroughly analysed by Professor Siegel on more than one occasion, but I needed to re-wrap my head around it just to be double and triple check myself.

  • Of 258 schools selected for the 2014 NYTS, 207 (80.2%) participated
  • 22,007 (91.4%) among 24,084 eligible students; the overall response rate was 73.3%
  • Current use for each product was defined as using a product on ≥1 day during the past 30 days
  • Tobacco use was categorized as “any tobacco product use,” (which they include e-cigarettes in by the way)
  • 24.6% of high school students reported current use of a tobacco product (5413)
  • e-cigarettes (13.4%) were the most common tobacco products used (again, not a tobacco product idiots!) (725 people out of the 24.6% percent that reported using a “tobacco product”)
  • followed by hookahs (9.4%), cigarettes (9.2%), cigars (8.2%), smokeless tobacco (5.5%), snus (1.9%), pipes (1.5%), bidis (0.9%), and dissolvables (0.6%) (just for completeness)

See the thing that gets me here, and the CDC report doesn’t actually differentiate between “used once” (i.e. tried) and regular use.

I did just notice this little snippet in the report:

However, the lack of decline in overall tobacco use from 2011 to 2014 is concerning and indicates that an estimated 4.6 million youths continue to be exposed to harmful constituents, including nicotine,

Yes, you read that correctly. The lack of decline in overall tobacco use, but hang on a tick:

Their own data clearly shows a decline in tobacco consumption (Cigarettes, Cigars, Smokeless, Pipes), yet they are bundling e-cigarettes in there which makes the overall tobacco product seem like an increase. Gotta love it when Government Agencies fudge the data!

But, I digress a little. Back to picking on the AMA.

“The AMA continues to advocate for more stringent policies to protect our country’s youth from the dangers of tobacco use and improve public health. The AMA’s newest policy expands on the AMA’s longtime efforts to help keep all tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, out of the hands of young people, by urging laws to deter the sale of electronic cigarettes to anyone under the age of 21,” said AMA President Robert M. Wah, M.D. “We also urge the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to act now to implement its proposed rule to effectively regulate electronic cigarettes.”

Thing is, the FDA are actually working with the vendors to avoid the whole “think of the cheeldren” malarky so what are the AMA playing at?

The new policy extends existing AMA policy adopted in 2013 and 2014 calling for all electronic cigarettes to be subject to the same regulations and oversight that the FDA applies to tobacco and nicotine products, seeking tighter marketing restrictions on manufacturers, and prohibiting claims that electronic cigarettes are effective tobacco cessation tools.

Ah, of course. The AMA wants vapour products to be regulated just like tobacco. Which of course means taxes and all that kind of shenanigans.

“Improving the health of the nation is AMA’s top priority and we will continue to advocate for policies that help reduce the burden of preventable diseases like cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, both of which can be linked to smoking,” said Dr. Wah.

In other words, they’ll gobble up your hard-earned cash to lobby the gubmint to take away lifes little pleasures. There are multiple words for folk like that.