I was looking through an old piece of “research” the other day.
It got me thinking.
I have always had a very low regard for any “research” that is based on statistics and in particular where those statistics are based on questionnaires. The example I was reading cites a perfect demonstration of where a vital piece of information is omitted giving a wholly false impression –
He noted that the survey results challenge the common assumption that all adolescents who use vaping products are inhaling, and possibly becoming addicted to, nicotine.
This is followed by –
Between 65% and 66% of students in each grade reported vaping “just flavoring” the last time they vaped
So here we have the Antis screaming blue murder that kids are getting hooked on Nicotine [how many times have we heard that?] when in fact they are just enjoying a harmless flavour, akin to sucking a lollypop.
Of course it goes deeper than that. This piece of work seems to be relatively honest in that at least they are pointing out flaws in previous work, but even they fall into another trap: talking about “vaping experience” and “using e-cigarettes”. What do those mean? How many times does the subject have to vape before they are classified as a vaper? Apparently, just once is enough. A kid is poking around his brother’s bedroom and finds an electrofag. He takes a suck but decides he doesn’t like it. He is however now regarded as a “vaper”?
Cigarettes are even harder to define. What constitutes a smoker? We immediately think of the 20+ a day regular, but what about someone who might have a cigarette on a Friday night out? What about the person who sucks but never inhales [a bum puffer!]? What about the person who does get through 20 a day, but in practice stubs them out after a couple of puffs? What about the person who lights up and then just lets the fag burn away on the side of an ashtray? According to the Antis, the one-fag-of-a-Saturday smoker is classed as a regular along with the 60 a day pro.
One of the commonest questions asked in these surveys is “Have you smoked/vaped in the last 30 days?”. This is factually meaningless. A kid takes a quick puff of an electrofag and doesn’t like it. He then tries an old style cigarette but doesn’t like that either. Yet according to the Antis, we now have and example of a child experimenting with electrofags and then “moving on” to conventional cigarettes.
I have an electrofag but I very rarely use it, but does the fact that I have used it on more than one occasion make me a regular vaper? I would say definitely not, but the Antis would disagree. I have partaken of some highly illicit substances in the past, but does that make me a drug addict?
So what does constitute a smoker or a vaper?
Is it any wonder I treat such “research” with contempt?