The British government has just released statistics on e-cigarette use. The Office for National Statistics reports that e-cigarettes were used by 12 percent of smokers and 5 percent of former smokers in the United Kingdom during the first quarter of this year, but the rate of use among never-smokers was only 0.14 percent.

This is direct evidence that it is predominantly smokers who are using e-cigs, and some of them are becoming ex-smokers.

Release of the British data underscores the distressing fact that the United States neither collects nor publishes similar information, which is vital to intelligent public health policymaking.

It is disgraceful that 10 years after the introduction of e-cigarettes, and five years after a rapid acceleration in sales, the U.S. government — particularly the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention — collects almost no e-cig data in its many national surveys.

I emphasize “almost,” because the CDC has collected usage information among youth for the past three years, using it to mislead the public about an unsubstantiated new childhood tobacco epidemic.

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