Tuesday 24 May 2022

E-cigarette use costs $15 billion a year?!?

Anti-vaping quackademics from California's Bay Area are at it again...
E-Cigarette use costs US $15 billion per year, reports UCSF in first study of its kind 

Use of electronic cigarettes costs the United States $15 billion annually in health care expenditures — more than $2,000 per person a year — according to a study by researchers at the UC San Francisco School of Nursing

The study, published on May 23, 2022 in Tobacco Control, is the first to look at the health care costs of e-cigarette use among adults 18 and older.

UCSF plus Tobacco Control is the perfect recipe for crank activism and this study is everything you might expect.

“We weren’t able to look at e-cigarette use among youth under 18 in this study,” Max said. “However, if more young people continue to take up vaping and keep on using this product when they become adults, the negative impacts on health care costs are likely to increase over time.” 

The authors called for continuing efforts to control tobacco use among youth in order to reduce illness and health care costs associated with e-cigarette use. 

Of course they did. That was the whole purpose of writing the study. That is the whole purpose of any study about vaping that is produced by Californian 'public health' researchers.

The study itself leaves a lot to the imagination. The authors seem to have compared the healthcare use of e-cigarette users to that of lifelong non-smokers, although their methodology is far from clear. The glaring problem with this comparison is that the obvious confounding factor is prior smoking. The overwhelming majority of vapers who are old enough to consume a non-trivial amount of healthcare will be ex-smokers or dual users who have a long history of smoking. 
Only 0.2 per cent of their study sample were exclusive e-cigarette users. The proportion that would have been exclusive e-cigarette users and lifelong nonsmokers would have been virtually zero. (It also means, if these researchers' calculations were correct, that if every adult in America used e-cigarettes, the associated healthcare costs would be $7.5 trillion, which is a third of the country's GDP.)

Failing to control for past smoking is a common flaw in studies which try to make vaping look like a major health threat. The authors of this study don't even mention it. They just assume that e-cigarettes are unhealthy.
...our model assumed that e-cigarette use has impacts on healthcare utilisation through health effects, that is, e-cigarette use causes poorer health, which in turn causes more healthcare utilisation
If that's what you assume, that's what you're going to find.


The Science Media Centre have found a couple of experts to comment on this trash. Worth a read. 

Prof Peter Hajek, Director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), said:

“This is a baffling piece of work. The authors report that people who use e-cigarettes have poorer health and incur higher health costs than non-smokers, but it is not clear why they assume that the excess health expenditure incurred by smokers who are trying to limit their smoking by using e-cigarettes (often because of acute health problems) is caused by their recent vaping rather than by their lifetime smoking. This is like claiming that the extra health expenditure incurred by people with broken legs is caused by using crutches.”

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