The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, better known as the CDC, has been hesitant to give vaping its stamp of approval in recent years. Part of that is because there is still a lot of research that needs to be done on e-cigarettes and vaping, and the CDC doesn’t want to give people the OK to vape before it knows that vaping is 100 percent healthy and better for people than regular cigarettes.
But part of it is also because the CDC knows that people from all over the country come to it for advice on health-related issues. If the CDC says something is good or bad for you, most people will usually listen since it’s a well-respected organization.
With that in mind, it was a little bit strange to see a CDC spokesperson make some seemingly confusing claims about e-cigarettes and vaping during a recent interview with the Deseret News. Dr. Brian King, the Deputy Director of Research Translation for the CDC, was asked to provide his opinions on vaping and the potential health benefits associated with it.
And naturally, he expressed some skepticism about vaping and the benefits that some people think it can provide. That’s to be expected when you consider the CDC’s position on vaping. However, he said some things that he probably shouldn’t have said about vaping, and it could ultimately cause some distrust between the CDC and the people who rely on it for accurate information.
It could also give people the wrong impression about vaping, especially since Dr. King’s job is essentially to give them vital information in a way that’s easy to understand. Let’s take a closer look at what he said.
What Dr. King Said That Was Right
“At this point, the problem is that “the truth” about vaping is always changing. New information is coming out all the time, and it’s constantly altering the way that people think about vaping.”
During his interview with the Deseret News, Dr. King was asked a series of questions about the potential dangers of e-cigarettes and vaping, and he brought up some valid points. One of the best points that he made is that young people who are not supposed to be allowed to buy vaping products should not be using them.
Regardless of whether or not vaping eventually proves to be safe, young teens should not be permitted to vape under any circumstances. “There’s a lot we don’t know,” Dr. King said, “but we know enough to know they should not be using any of these products.”
King also went on to explain why the CDC has some concerns about vaping as it pertains to peoples’ health. In his professional opinion, the particles that are found in vaping aerosol could be problematic for people, which is why more extensive research into them needs to be done.
King is also concerned about the metals and organic compounds found in some e liquids. He wants experimentation to be done on them to find out how they could affect a person’s health. He also stated the obvious when he said, “We don’t know the long-term effects for adults.” This much is true, as there’s not yet enough scientific evidence about how e-cigarettes will affect a person over the long haul.
What Dr. King Said That Was Wrong
While Dr. King did make some good points about vaping, he also missed the mark at several times during his interview with the Deseret News. At one point, he was asked about what he thinks about pro-vaping advocates who argue that e-cigarettes are beneficial because they allow a person to cut down on the number of regular cigarettes they use during any given day.
Dr. King took issue with this claim and said that “just reducing the number of [smoked cigarettes] doesn’t reduce health risks.” He then added, “You have to quit completely,” before recommending other smoking cessation devices.
Dr. King is partially right—you do need to quit smoking cigarettes completely to get all of the health benefits that come along with quitting. But cutting back on cigarettes can also be beneficial, especially when it comes to reducing the chances of respiratory diseases.
Dr. King also made a troubling statement about nicotine. Nicotine is the addictive substance that is found in cigarettes and some e juices, and studies have suggested that there might be some health benefits to using it when you vape.
It’s the tobacco and the harmful chemicals and not necessarily the nicotine that hurts you when you use cigarettes. But Dr. King discredited those studies by saying that he believes nicotine is bad for you. “We do know some potentially harmful ingredients have been identified [in e-cigarettes],” he said, “including nicotine, which harms the brain and creates fetal toxicity.” And in doing so, he just confused a lot of people!
What Is the Truth?
At this point, the problem is that “the truth” about vaping is always changing. New information is coming out all the time, and it’s constantly altering the way that people think about vaping. But the CDC needs to be more careful when they talk about vaping and why they don’t necessarily recommend it.
It’s one thing for them to show some hesitancy to be on board with people vaping, but it’s quite another to come out and shoot down the idea of vaping without knowing all the facts. By doing it, they might actually discourage people from even considering vaping and they might also give vaping a bad reputation, which could come back to bite them one day if it’s proven that vaping can be beneficial.
For now, vapers should show a healthy skepticism whenever they read about vaping and the dangers associated with it. Even if someone from the CDC is making claims, there’s a chance those claims could need to be investigated further.
Educating yourself and reading about vaping from a variety of different sources is the only way to find out everything you need to know about e-cigarettes, e juices, and other vaping products.