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P.E.I Lung Association Targets Adults in Battle Against Youth Vaping

Hamilton, Jan. 28, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- It is disappointing that once again a Canadian health advocacy organisation has failed to make science-based recommendations regarding vaping. Our trusted health organizations continue to make alarmist and uniformed statements with complete disregard for harm reduction and public health.

The P.E.I Lung association has voiced their support for banning all flavoured vaping products in a stated effort to protect youth. We find it deeply troubling that such a trusted organization could be so misguided and uniformed.

The Canadian Vaping Association (CVA) shares the concerns about youth uptake and has recommended practical solutions to stop youth from accessing any vaping products. Vaping should be used only by adults trying to stop smoking. Youth should not have access to vaping products, period.

While the Canadian Vaping Association (CVA) shares the concerns about youth uptake, banning flavours is not the answer, as research shows that flavours are not the key driver for use among youth. “Among middle and high school students who ever tried using e-cigarettes, the most common reason for e-cigarette use was ‘I was curious about them.’ (55.3 percent),” the CDC in its report Tobacco Product Use and Associated Factors Among Middle and High School Students — United States, 2019. This in-depth study into youth uptake concluded that 77 percent of youth experiment with vaping for reasons other than flavours.

The CVA believes that eliminating the youth uptake of vaping is best achieved by eliminating youth access to all vaping products. This can be done by limiting all vape product sales to age-restricted adult only vape shops, decreasing the nicotine levels and controlling online sales.

The PEI Lung Association recommendation that all flavours be banned from all customers would have a devastating impact on thousands of PEI adult vapers who have quit smoking by using flavoured vaping products. More than 90% of adult vapers use flavoured e-liquids to quit combustible tobacco. It seems strange that the PEI Lung Association would propose a solution that would drive ex-smokers back to smoking tobacco, and all of the devastating health consequences of smoking cigarettes, or to black market flavoured vape products which could be equally harmful.

The crucial role that flavours play in an adult smoker’s transition from combustible tobacco is documented in many medical journals. Most notably the study published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ), which concluded if flavours were removed from vaping products there would be an 8.3 percent increase in tobacco use among adults. The New England Journal of medicine has also concluded through a controlled trail that e-cigarettes are twice as effective as any other cessation method.

For non-vapers, it can be confusing why flavours are such an integral factor. Why do flavours matter when the nicotine addiction can be satisfied without them? This is due to the limbic system. The limbic system is a set of structures in the brain that deal with emotions and memory. It regulates autonomic or endocrine function in response to emotional stimuli and is involved in reinforcing behaviours. Flavours invoke a positive emotional response because of the limbic system. Psychologists call this positive psychotherapy. Because of the flavours in vapour products, the brain begins to attach positive associations to vaping. This is incredibly effective in reducing cravings. For smokers looking to quit, flavours are a fundamental component. This phenomenon is not unique to vapour products. The Behavioural Pharmacology Research Unit at John Hopkins University School of Medicine performed a study with other nicotine replacement therapy’s (NRT) which showed that flavours reduce cravings and increase success rates. This same study found that there was no connection between flavours and increased abuse potential.

Flavours were created for adult smokers and the research proves that they are integral to getting adult smokers off of combustible tobacco, yet the Lung Association released preposterous videos clearly aimed at scaring and confusing Canadians. This ignores their primary mandate to reduce pulmonary lung illness. Saving lives is not a joke, vaping flavoured nicotine e-liquid has been shown by the best available research to be 18-54% effective in helping smokers quit. For comparison, other smoking cessation methods, including gums, patches, and prescriptions have a maximum success rate of only 10%. With vaping, the five million smokers in Canada could be reduced by 900,000 to 2,700,000 people. We know smoking kills one in two long term users, thus vaping has the ability to save 450,000 to 1,350,000 Canadian lives. Supporting a ban on an integral factor in what makes vaping successful is risking the lives of all of these Canadians. The research shows that that vaping nicotine e-liquid as the single most effective path to reduce pulmonary lung illness in Canada – it is time The Lung Association drop their bias and present science-based recommendations regarding vaping.

Darryl Tempest
CVA
6472741867
dtempest@thecva.org