Alcohol and Drug Foundation misleads on youth vaping

Posted on September 6, 2022 By Colin

THE AUSTRALIAN ALCOHOL AND DRUG FOUNDATION has released advice on youth vaping which is riddled with false and alarming claims and exaggerated risks. Almost every statement disagrees with the recent briefing from Action on Smoking and Health, UK.

Vaping is not risk-free and young people who have never smoked should not vape. However teens and their parents should be provided with accurate information, not fear, doubt and lies.

This blog contrasts the statements made between the the Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) and Action on Smoking and Health (ASH).

Effectiveness for quitting

ADF. "You might have heard that people can use vaping to reduce or quit smoking – but, there’s currently not enough evidence to support these claims"

ASH. "Vaping is an effective quitting aid for adult smokers." See my blogs here and here.

Safety compared to smoking

ADF. "Replacing smoking cigarettes with vaping may be less harmful because of the chemicals and cancer-causing agents found in tobacco. However, we still don’t know this for sure."

ASH. "Vaping is much less harmful than smoking."
"Most young vapers also smoke or have smoked and it is important to recognise, and communicate to children and young people, that the level of risk from smoking is far greater than vaping." See my blog here.

Long term risk

ADF. "We didn’t know the long-term effects of smoking cigarettes for decades. So, conclusions about vaping can’t be made without quality long-term research."

ASH. "We can’t yet be precise about the longer-term risks of vaping, but they are likely to be substantially lower than smoking." See my blog here.

Serious lung disease (EVALI)

ADF. "Recent outbreaks of lung disease and deaths related to vaping in the United States point to a potential link between vaping and harm to lungs."

ASH. "An outbreak of serious respiratory disease (known as ‘EVALI’) in the US in 2019 WAS NOT caused by vaping nicotine, but by vaping cannabis with vitamin E acetate added to it." See my blog here.

Harm from nicotine

ADF. "Nicotine exposure during teenage years can harm brain development and impact learning, memory, and attention."

Royal College of Physicians (not mentioned by ASH). "Research from animal studies suggests that cognitive function and development are adversely affected by nicotine exposure during the adolescent period. The relevance of these findings to human brain development remains uncertain." [Link p59] Also see here: "the validity of extrapolation to humans is speculative."

Nicotine dependence

ADF.  "Nicotine on its own can lead to dependence for young people."

ASH. "Most young people who try vaping DO NOT get addicted to nicotine. Dependence on vaping appears lower than on smoking for young people."


ADF. "Both nicotine and nicotine-free e-liquids also contain other chemicals, additives, and flavourings that are potentially harmful, such as chemicals found in common paint, cleaning, and disinfectant products, and certain cancer-causing agents."

Public Health England (not mentioned by ASH). Most of the chemicals in smoke are at very low or trace levels in vapour, "mostly below 1% and far below safety limits for occupational exposure" [link]. "To date, there is no clear evidence that specific flavourings pose health risks". [link, p19] See my blog here.

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