Teen vaping is on the rise, but what's the whole story?
We're not sure if you've seen the news already, but a new federal report in the U.S. found that vaping among teens has tripled in the course of just one year.
Between 2013 and 2014, the number of U.S. high school students who vaped at least once in the past 30 days increased from 4.5% to 13.4% (and from 1.1% to 3.9% for middle schoolers), according to data culled by the CDC and the FDA.
Even more significantly, 2014 marked the first year that ecigarettes represented the most popular form of nicotine consumption for teenagers, surpassing cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, hookahs, tobacco pipes, snus, dissolvable tobacco, and bidis.
It's certainly concerning to see young kids consuming nicotine of any kind, and data like this presents a strong case for those who argue that ecigarettes are easy to market to kids with their medley of fun flavours and discreet vaping mechanisms.
But one silver lining to the report was that while ecigarette use is on the rise among teens, cigarette smoking has seen corresponding decreases, suggesting some teens might be making the switch in order to curb their cigarette habit.
Cigarette use fell below 10% for the first time among high school students in 2014. Between 2011 and 2014, cigarette consumption dropped from 15.8% to 9.2%.
This certainly begs the question of whether ecigarettes are actually responsible for the decline in cigarette use, or whether vaping's rising popularity is undoing the progress that would otherwise have gone on undisturbed. Given what we understand about adult consumption, however, it's entirely likely that ecigarettes are having a somewhat beneficial role in all of this, and at the very least, it's enough to indicate that they're not serving as a gateway to cigarette smoking, as many had feared.
Moreover, it recently came out that one of the teenagers interviewed by The New York Times in its ecigarette youth trend piece shouldn't have been taken seriously. The teen tweeted that he trolled the reporter under a fake alias ("Joe,"), delivering gems that resulted in the following paragraph (from Death and Taxes Mag):
"He prefers a flavor called Courtroom, endorsed by the rapper Lil Ugly Mane, which is described on websites where it is sold as "a medley of things you might want while waiting for the jury to convict."
The Times posted the following retraction: "An earlier version of this article included the account of an 18-year-old from Jackson, Miss., who discussed his use of e-cigarettes. After publication, the person who had provided that account contacted the reporter and said he had made up some of the information, including the name he used. That passage has been removed from the article."