Teen Vaping in Decline: What do you think?
The New York Times reported on June 19, 2017 that “teen vaping declined drastically last year in the United States after years of sharp increases”. According to a survey released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of high school and middle school students using electronic cigarettes fell to 2.2 million in 2016 from 3 million in 2015.
What are people’s reactions?
It is the first decline in teen vaping since the CDC began tracking 2011. While some people rejoiced at the dramatic drop, such as Brian King, an expert on smoking and health at the CDC, who claimed that “it is certainly a public health win”, many people expressed their concerns for such a reverse in the E-cigarette trend, fearing that more teens may be exposed to and addicted to combustible cigarettes as a result. It may be said that both sides stood firm in their belief and conviction with clear consciences and ample arguments, and in this article I endeavor to present what reasons and motivations are behind each of the two opposite sentiments.
Those who are pleased by the decline
Among those who rejoiced at the decline are health officials who have worried about the booming popularity of vaping products among kids and the potential impact on adult smoking rates in the future. Some believe that although E-cigarettes are generally considered a less dangerous alternative to regular cigarettes, nicotine in E-liquids is however, harmful to developing brains. Many people also argue that there may be certain harmful effects that E-cigarettes have on health which remain unknown.
These arguments are not without merits, and therefore should be carefully considered. But the reasoning that vaping leads to smoking cigarettes, which leads to smoking marijuana, which leads to heroin, which leads to nothing because now you are dead, is certainly without grounds, though entertained by many parents who are worried by their vaping teen kids.
Those who are displeased by the decline
There are some people who, perceiving this steep decline, expressed their concern that those who either quitted vaping or rejected vaping in the first place may be more likely to be exposed to and addicted to regular cigarettes, the reason for their apprehension being that, even though most teen vapers may be dual users (smoking regular cigarettes as well as vaping), in general the use of one discourages and deters the application of another. To demonstrate this assertion with an example: when a teen is vaping, he cannot be smoking cigarettes at the same time, and therefore by choosing the lesser evil of the two, his overall health condition is rather improved.
Some may find the above argument far-stretched and without much grounds. Although it is to be admitted that there is no data supporting the assumption that teen vaping reduced their smoking exposure or addiction, it may, however, putting yourself in the shoes of a teen, be easy to presume and maintain a sense of superiority obtained by vaping, as compared with consumption of other tobacco products. It is therefore not unreasonable to surmise that, because of the psychological gratitude derived from vaping, teens who vape are less likely to be as addicted to cigarette, which is considered by them a inferior entertainment, as those who don’t vape and therefore who are void of this above mentioned superiority complex.
To be noted is that adolescent cigarette smoking has been falling for many years, and it is therefore most senseless to accredit increasing teen smoking cessation to vaping, which did not ascend to popularity till 2012.
Reasons behind the decline
The reasons behind the decline may be multiple, to name but a few: a growing push by federal regulations to the sale of E-cigarettes to minors, the influence of campaigns by the government or other organizations to discourage vaping, or the loss of their novelty among teens.
It is unclear why teen vaping fell last year, and it is premature to draw any definite conclusions with respect to whether the numbers will continue to drop. But with the FDA restriction which bans sales of all flavored vaping products to minors, we may yet observe a further decline, at which some are bound to delight, as some are justified to lament. What do you think? Feel free to comment and share your opinions.
Tags: Teen vaping, vaping