Man, this is frustrating news. Teen smoking down, of course, but down for the wrong reason — because a LOT more kids than ever are now “vaping” instead.
A recent Centers for Disease Control survey shows that the use of e-cigs has tripled in just one year among teens (from 4.5 percent to 13.4 percent). More kids are using e-cigs today than cigarettes (9.2 percent).
This is such a “good news, bad news” scenario. The good news is the rate of teen smoking is at its lowest level ever record — 9.2 percent. However, the bad news is, e-cigs still contain nicotine and are still turning teens into nicotine addicts. Nicotine all by itself is bad for your blood pressure.
I get that e-cigs don’t appear to be as deadly as cigarettes and that they might help some people quit cigarettes, but kids are using them as an out-and-out substitute for cigarettes is not good news. And it really torques me when e-cig companies employ the same ad techniques used by tobacco to make e-cigs looks sexy and suave.
From a Washington Post article:
The use of e-cigarettes among teenagers has eclipsed the use of traditional cigarettes and all other tobacco products, a development that Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, called “alarming” and “shocking.”
“What’s most surprising is how incredibly rapid the use of products other than cigarettes has increased,” Frieden said in an interview, adding that some e-cigarette smokers would undoubtedly go on to use traditional cigarettes. “It is subjecting another generation of our children to an addictive substance.”
The Food and Drug Administration has proposed rules to ban the sales of e-cigs to minors (this rules have been in the “proposed” stage for over a year, but took a completely hands-off approach to a number of other problems with e-cigs, including fairly blatant e-cig marketing to teenagers and surgary flavourings designed to make e-cigs more palatable to teens.
On the surface, that might seems like good news, given the hundreds of thousands of Americans that still die from smoking each year. And it might be. “The drop in cigarette use is historic, with enormous public health significance,” said Matt Myers, with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. But, he was quick to add, “the explosion of e-cigarette use among kids means these products are being taken up in record numbers with totally unknown long-term consequences that could potentially undermine all the progress we’ve made.”