One of the reasons that organizations like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been so against supporting vaping is that they believe that doing so will make it easier for teens and those who are underage to get access to vaping supplies.
If you look at almost any FDA or CDC story concerning vaping, you will no doubt find at least one quote about how vaping is bad because of the effect it has on young people. Specifically, you will find officials who speak at length about how vaping is a “gateway drug” that can lead teens to using tobacco products, even though there is no definitive evidence to prove that. The FDA and CDC love to harp on how they’re protecting the youth by fighting against the vaping community.
We are all for stopping kids from using vaping products. It’s illegal in most states to sell vaping supplies to anyone under the age of 18, and there are some states that have even increased the legal age to 21 in an effort to stop young people from vaping. But we also don’t think that teen vaping is as big of a problem as some people will tell you it is—and now, there’s data to back that up.
The CDC just released the findings of a recent study that indicated that the teen vaping rate in the U.S. has gone down dramatically. That means that fewer teens are vaping. Additionally, there are fewer teens using tobacco products, which is also a great sign. Let’s take a closer look at the CDC study that was done to see why it’s such a good thing for everyone.
How the CDC Study Was Conducted
Since 2011, the CDC has conducted a survey of teens to find out how many of them are vaping. This year, they asked about 20,000 students in grades 6 through 12 to fill out a questionnaire concerning vaping and smoking.
Those who filled out the questionnaire were asked a number of questions about their vaping and smoking habits. They were asked questions like, “During the past 30 days, on how many days did you use electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes?”
The students’ answers helped the CDC figure out the approximate vaping and smoking rates for teens in 2016. It also helped them draw conclusions about cigarette and e-cigarette use as a whole.
What the CDC Study Showed
The CDC study produced a number of interesting results. The one that is getting the most attention is, obviously, the stat that shows that vaping rates are on the decline among teens in the U.S. About 20 percent of all high school students admitted to using vaping and smoking products in the past, but there was a reduction in the total number of students who vaped in 2016.
In 2015, there were approximately 3 million students who revealed that they had tried vaping. But in 2016, that number fell to about 2.2 million, which is a big drop and, frankly, is a bit surprising when you consider the recent vaping trend. But it’s great to see that there are fewer teens vaping, and the hope is that that number will continue to fall since teens are not legally allowed to vape.
The study also turned up some other interesting results. For example, the study found that just 8 percent of high school students have ever tried smoking regular cigarettes, while just 4.3 percent of middle school students have tried vaping. Some people would argue that both of those numbers are still too high—and to be clear, they are—but they are trending downwards and should continue to do so.
Why the CDC Study Is Encouraging
The CDC study is encouraging because it proves that, despite the popularity of vaping in recent years, it isn’t having the devastating effect that some people thought it would have. It did result in a spike in e-cigarette use among teens in recent years, but that spike eventually plateaued and is now headed downwards.
There are a number of reasons for that. One is that many states are making it harder for teens to get their hands on e-cigarettes and other vaping supplies. They have raised the legal age for them and also placed higher taxes on them, which has obviously made them more expensive for teens.
Another is that there is more awareness about vaping today than ever before. Since parents and kids are being better educated about vaping, they’re able to make better decisions concerning e-cigarettes. We hope that they’re not buying into some of the scare tactics that organizations like the CDC seem to use, but we do hope they’re taking the time to learn more about vaping.
And finally, there are teens who are simply making the decision not to vape. For years now, the CDC and other anti-smoking groups have failed to give teens the proper credit by leaning on the “gateway drug” argument whenever arguing against vaping. But teens are showing that they are fully capable of making their own decisions when it comes to vaping and smoking.
Now, we all sit and wait to see what the 2017 vaping and smoking statistics will look like. If we had to guess, they will probably continue to go down, and that would good for everyone.
Obviously, we want those who are of legal age to enjoy vaping if they want to. But we are not on board with the idea of allowing young people to vape since it is against the law, and the vaping community as a whole has been diligent about only allowing those who are of legal age to vape. There has been a big push made for this within the vaping community.
We will continue to make that push, and we will also continue to monitor the teen vaping and smoking rates. We hope the FDA and CDC do the same and see that we don’t really need crazy restrictions to stop teens from vaping. If we all continue to take the steps we’re taking now, we can keep the teen vaping rates low while still building up the vaping community and finding the potential benefits associated with vaping.