NATO Calls Out CDC For Politically Driven E-Cig Report

Last week’s report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claimed that the number of children and teens using e-cigs had doubled in the past year. Since then, almost every major media outlet in the United States republished this report, casting a negative light on e-cigarettes over and over again. Now representatives from the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO) are speaking out to refute the CDC’s claims as inaccurate and politically motivated.

Thomas A. Briant spoke out about the CDC’s report, giving a completely different perspective as the executive director and acting legal counsel for NATO. Briant pointed out that the CDC study leaves a lot of questions unanswered and the reported data is certainly not substantiated enough to be used as a basis for implementing new e-cigarette restrictions or regulations. He even took it one step further, calling out the CDC and FDA for using the reports to push their own political agendas.

“It appears the CDC and (FDA) are extrapolating data from the 2011 and 2012 National Youth Tobacco Surveys to support the FDA’s announced plan to expand its authority over other tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, by issuing proposed regulations this October,” Briant said.

He went on to explain that valid studies have been conducted numerous times and revealed that e-cigs are effective to help smokers reduce their cigarette use and to eventually quit smoking altogether. So if e-cigs have been proven as beneficial to help smokers quit, then the only reason for the misconstrued CDC report would be to push for the FDA’s interests in regulations. “NATO can only conclude that the FDA is setting the stage for the rollout of the agency’s proposed e-cigarette regulations in two months.”

Briant went on to say that NATO was in total agreement that underage children and teens should not be using e-cigarettes. However, he said that the 28,000 retailer members of NATO followed the laws that prohibit sales of e-cigarettes to minors. He questioned the validity of the CDC’s claims that such a high number of students are using e-cigarettes.

“The NYTS statistics… include middle and high school students who currently use e-cigarettes and those who have used an e-cigarette just once. This means that the CDC’s claim that electronic cigarette use has doubled among underage youth is likely overstated since students who used the product one time may no longer be using e-cigarettes.”

Briant said the CDC report is unclear on how many students participated in the survey, but the published estimate of 1.78 million students using e-cigs in 2012 seems pretty unlikely. After all, there were only about 2.5 million Americans using e-cigarettes in 2012 and what are the odds that over half of them were children and teenagers?

After questioning the accuracy of the report, Briant reiterated NATO’s support for adult consumers that wished to use e-cigarettes. “NATO members firmly stand behind the rights of adults to purchase e-cigarettes, particularly when they are looking for assistance in ‘stepping down’ from smoking traditional cigarettes. We hope any future regulations proposed by the FDA will not interfere with the right of adults to choose what, at least at this time, appears to be a less harmful alternative.”

Do you agree with NATO’s director that the CDC report was bogus and politically driven?

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Author Focus: Katie Bercham
Katie actually had a negative first experience of electronic cigarettes, picking up a cheap and horrible model from my local mall. Thanks to a chance meeting with co-editor David, she hasn’t had a tobacco cigarette in over 2 years. She brings a strong female voice to the e-cig community... Read Full Profile >