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This newly released survey data is significant, because it confirms what many public health experts have been pointing out. That is, warnings saying that vaping will make smoking popular again and that e-cigarettes may act as a gateway to smoking, are unfounded, as in fact cigarette consumption by teenagers has reached “historic lows”.

Smoking rates amongst senior high schoolers have dropped from 36.5% in 1997 to 9.7% this year, and smoking rates amongst younger students, have dropped even more significantly, from 30.4% in 1996 to 5% in 2017.
The Monitoring the Future Study indicates that smoking rates amongst senior high schoolers have dropped from 36.5% in 1997 to 9.7% this year, a 73% drop. On an even more positive note, smoking rates amongst younger students, have dropped even more significantly, from 30.4% in 1996 to 5% in 2017, whilst the drop amongst 10th-graders was of 84% and amongst eighth-graders of 91%. These positive results were achieved despite the fact that teen experimentation with e-cigarettes has become increasingly common.

Inline with these survey results, data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last June, clearly indicate that smoking rates amongst high school students were cut in half in only five years, between 2011 to 2016. Most importantly during this same time, vaping amongst the same age group increased from 1.5% to a peak of 16.0% in 2015, which then also proceeded to drop from 16.0% in 2015 to 11.3% in 2016.

Youths are not interested in Nicotine

Many are questioning why the increase in vaping is not correlating to an increase in smoking. The answer may lie in a study carried out last year by Fiona Measham, a Professor of Criminology at the School of Applied Social Sciences of Durham University.

Through observing behavioural vaping patterns in young adults between aged between 14 to 25, Measham found that “young people do not consider vaping as a nicotine-inhaling method”, therefore while 28% of the observed adolescents used e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid, the rest who were only interested in experimenting, tended to use non-nicotine containing e-liquids in their devices, hence never became addicted.

Read Further: Reason.com

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