Cigarette Smoking Is Less Popular Among Teens While Vaping Population Increases

By Beatrice Walters, Parent Herald June 17, 07:55 am
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Over the past few weeks, researches and government regulations against teenage vaping have been surfacing. The strong disapproval to traditional smoking's alternative has drawn criticism among vaping advocates and scholars as current figures show a decline in cigarette smoking among teens.

Parent Herald reported a study from the University of Southern California that examined 300 students from Grades 11 to 12, divided into those who have tried vaping or e-cigarette smoking and those who haven't touched even a single stick or vaping device. After 16 months, the teens were surveyed again and the study found out that those who have tried vaping are six times more likely to start traditional smoking.

Contributor Jacob Sullum in a Forbes article attacks the study's claim as he argued that it failed to present a strong causation between vaping and starting tobacco smoking. The study also did not take into account the teens who did start smoking but quit right after; it automatically counted all who have tried to smoke, including those who just tried a single puff.

"It may simply be that sort of teenagers who are inclined to try vaping are also inclined to try smoking, and they try the former because it smells and tastes better and causes less discomfort. Even if e-cigarettes did not exist, those same teenagers might have eventually tried smoking anyway," Sullum writes.

Last June 10, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report which tackled about youth risk behavior in the U.S. on 2015. The Youth Risk Behavior and Surveillance System includes a CDC-conducted national school Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) and also a YRBS survey spearheaded by local and state education and health agencies.

Thirty days before the survey, a 10.8% turnout of teens smoked a cigarette for at least a day and 7.3% used smokeless tobacco. CDC interpreted the results as decrease in health-risk behaviors that include cigarette smoking but "other behaviors and health outcomes" have not changed including using smokeless tobacco.

The survey provided more data, recognizing that from 1991-2015, the number of those who have tried cigarette smoking has significantly dropped from 70.1% in 1991 to 32.3% in 2015. The number of current cigarette smokers has also decreased from 27.5% in 1991 to 10.8% in 2015.

According to Reason.com, the figures discredit the government warnings that smoking e-cigarettes or vaping lead to eventual traditional cigarette smoking. The pattern shows that the vaping population has increased while cigarette smokers have decreased.

In 2014, the National Institute on Drug Abuse's Monitoring the Future Study found that 9.5% teens are vaping in 8th grade, 14% in 10th grade and 16.2% are vapers in 12th grade. The vaping population now accounts for a bigger percentage on overall smoking of teens.   

What is your opinion about vaping and tobacco smoking? Is the former of a lesser evil than the latter? Comment your thoughts below and follow Parent Herald for more news and updates.

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