No longer the hot new thing? Teen vaping falls, study says

Bryan Strickland
June 17, 2017

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that the use of electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, by middle and high school students in the United States has dropped for the first time since it started tracking the use of the product by young people. Previous reports showed increases in usage.

"It's actually quite remarkable from a public health standpoint", said Brian King, deputy director for research translation in the CDC and Prevention's Office on Smoking and Health, which produced the new report, according to NPR.

Overall, teen use of any tobacco product dropped from 25.3 percent to 20.2 percent.

The decline in e-cigarette use was also notable, falling to 11.3% of high schoolers in 2016 from 16% in 2015.

The number of high school students who smoked cigarettes in the 30 days prior to being surveyed fell to 8 percent from 9.3 percent in 2015, the data shows.

It found an overall decline in use of vaping devices, traditional cigarettes and other tobacco products.

For middle-schoolers, rates of e-cigarette use dropped as well.

"While the number of high school students who use e-cigarettes is still too high, this rapid decline is a positive indicator that much youth e-cigarette use has been experimental and that the current offering of products may be less appealing to youth than feared", Robin Koval, the CEO and president of the Truth Initiative, said in a statement.

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"Reynolds and its subsidiaries share society's belief that minors should never use tobacco products, and we remain committed to transforming the tobacco industry through youth tobacco prevention efforts", Seccombe said.

Gary Giovino, an expert in the epidemiology of tobacco use and dependence, and a professor of community health and health behavior at the University of Buffalo, said the findings made him cautiously optimistic.

It's only a matter of time before this trend catches up with Big Tobacco, however, and this crowded trade unwinds. "But, at least for now, it's going in the right direction".

Regulating the manufacture, distribution, and marketing of tobacco products, coupled with proven population-based strategies, can reduce youth tobacco use and initiation.

"I was surprised to see that most of the countries were in the 10 to 20 percent range; I would have thought the numbers would be higher, but they either are similar or slightly higher than rates in the USA which are around 10 to 15 percent", said Dr. Maher Karam-Hage, associate medical director of the tobacco treatment program at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. These include the Food and Drug Administration's well-known education campaign The Real Cost, which includes television commercials showing the toll that smoking can take on people. There are in addition smoke-free zones and policies, restriction of access to tobacco by the youth and other similar measures that serve as deterrents to smoking. As it turns out, though the number of young cigarette and cigar users truly did decline in the period between 2011 and 2016, it was offset by the increasing number of hookah and e-cigarette users.

Adults aged 45 to 64 were less likely to be uncertain about the risk of exposing kids to second-hand e-cigarette smoke than younger adults aged 18 to 24, the study also found.

"While these latest numbers are encouraging, it is critical that we work to ensure this downward trend continues over the long term across all tobacco products", FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said.

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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