|category||post hoc, appeal to fear|
|motivation||FUD, statistics wielding|
As part of the US anti-vaping FUD, some astroturf groups extensively used misrepresentations of teen use statistics to bolster their scare. Claims of "27.5% of children are vaping" were used to obfuscate the relatively low daily/regular use from experimental/one-time consumption. Going so far as to proclaim instant/invariable addiction even. And of course completely ignoring any context, such as the accelerated smoking decline.
It was a largely artifical scare, possibly even being caused by the very same groups - who stoked teen curiousity through reckless anti-vaping ads (more so reckless than e-cigarette vendors). Most scientific circles are appalled by the squanderous use of the term 'epidemic' even. (It's neither transmittable, nor even appropriate terminology for an otherwise habitual ongoing.)
- The great American youth vaping epidemic. Really?
- Most young people do not vape, and even fewer vape regularly (NYU)
- It's time to stop confusing the public with sensationalist rhetoric on e-cigarettes
- Non-distinction of N-in-30-days from frequent or daily usage
- Thus declaring all youths as active users, even if it was one-time 🟥
- "27.5%" sounded more alarmist 🟫
- Albeit the 5-6% regular/frequent use should have been fairly concerning (large portion of those were tobacco-naïve youths 🟧)
- Less so than the 1.6% daily use (mostly current/former teen smokers)
- Obfuscation was also used to purport instant addiction dangers
- Isolated rise statistic "+78%"
- Was only used as initial scare stat
- Confounding THC vaping into nicotine vaping (the CDC obfuscated THC vaporizer use🟥 in NYTS stats)
- Stats were used to insinuate a gateway threat🟧, which necessitated ignoring the accelerated smoking decline among US teenagers: https://twitter.com/ChaunceyGardner/status/1443337926880993282
The vaping framedemic had some repercussions for the real pandemic however. It was not just undermining messaging or eroding credibility of public health orgs, but delayed actual action.