“Most Young People Do Not Vape, and Even Fewer Vape Regularly”

The United States vaping industry has faced intense regulatory crackdown following a series of injuries misattributed to nicotine vaping, as well as concerns over a supposed “epidemic” of teenage vaping. As ban after ban is proposed and passed on the grounds of protecting our children from vaping, a new analysis finds that these concerns have little basis to begin with.

A study from NYU found that most teens do not smoke or vape, and among a small minority of experimental teens who do vape, most do not do so regularly. These findings are a direct contradiction toward claims of a so-called teenage vaping epidemic, that often serve as the supposed reasoning behind the recent barrage of bans.

Members of the vaping industry and community say this study adds to a growing body of research dispelling the myth of teenage vaping. Despite this, anti-vaping activists continue to purport the debunked myth that teenage vaping is rampant.

The future of the industry continues to remain in doubt despite growing reports exonerating vaping from supposed public health concerns. In spite of this vindication, lawmakers continue to pass various bans and other forms of prohibition against vaping.

Vaping Epidemic Myth

The United States faces a looming federal ban, as well as a variety of state and local bans, following outcries of concerns over teenage vaping. Despite these often-repeated claims, studies continue to emerge that directly counter this narrative.

A study led by researchers at NYU School of Global Public Health found that most middle and high school students do not vape and the few that have done so regularly. The study, published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research, finds that over 86% of teens in the US do not vape, and among the minority who have tried, most of them do not vape daily.

The study analyzed the 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey, which featured over 20,000 teenage participants, to understand trends in youth vaping and tobacco use. In their conclusion, the authors caution against the dangers of restrictive policies and their broader impact on public health.

“We need to avoid prohibitionist regulations like banning e-cigarettes—while leaving much more deadly cigarettes and cigars in corner stores—and instead should consider strong enforcement of age 21 sales restrictions. Prohibition creates a black market for vaping products or inadvertently pushes individuals back to smoking tobacco.” said David Abrams, study co-author and a professor of social and behavioral sciences at the NYU School of Global Public Health.

Truth About Vaping

The NYU study adds to a growing collection of evidence directly dispelling the teenage vaping epidemic myth. Research conducted by Public Health England found that as little as 0.1% to 0.5% of British teens even try vaping, and the few that do end up doing so habitually.

As mentioned by Professor Abrams, we face prohibitionist policies that repeatedly target vaping, while deadly cigarettes and other tobacco are freely sold in any store. Data from the CDC estimates there are 38 million smokers in the United States alone, 16 million of whom currently face some form of smoking-related illness.

Despite the regulatory onslaught against it, research indicates that vaping may actually be the most effective way to combat the deadly smoking epidemic. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that vaping was more effective than traditional nicotine-replacement therapies in aiding smoking cessation.

In fact, vaping is already responsible for saving the lives of thousands of current and former smokers annually. According to research from University College London, vaping helped up to 70,000 British smokers quit in 2017 alone.

Conclusions

As previously stated, overbearing policies have been demonstrated time and again to be ineffective and potentially detrimental to public health at large. Harm-reduction experts have long cautioned against their implementation, stating that turning users back to combustibles or the black market is far worse than a small minority of teens trying vaping.

Despite these fact-based claims, lawmakers continue to implement sweeping crackdowns against vaping based on hysteria and outright misinformation. These prohibitionist policies have already led to an increase in local smoking rates and tobacco sales, as well as the establishment of a black market for nicotine vapor products.

Members of the vaping industry and community must remain steadfast in their defense of what has effectively given them their lives back. A campaign of sustained civic engagement and informative public discourse can help shift public perception and secure the future of vaping.

What are your thoughts surrounding NYU’s analysis? Do you believe this study will have a larger impact on the regulatory landscape surrounding vaping? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to receive all the latest vaping news!

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