Released last week, the CDC data indicate that all the flavour bans being set in place across the US, may do little to decrease teen vaping rates. “Among students who reported ever having tried e-cigarettes, the three most common reasons for use were “I was curious about them” (55.3%), “friend or family member used them” (30.8%), and “they are available in flavors, such as mint, candy, fruit, or chocolate” (22.4%). Among students who never used e-cigarettes, 39.1% were curious about using e-cigarettes and 37.0% were curious about smoking cigarettes,” reads the CDC website.
Extracted from part of the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS), the figures confirm arguments by countless anti-smoking experts: personality traits such as a tendency to experiment, play a main role in tobacco/substance use initiation. With this in mind, given the relative safety of vaping products, the fact that minors who would otherwise turn to smoking, may turn to vaping instead, should be considered a victory from a public health perspective.
To this effect, speaking in response to a 2018 report claiming that tobacco companies are behind the push for e-cigarettes, Australian expert Dr Attila Danko, had explained that like many of his peers, he had started smoking at the tender age of 11. Also like most other smokers, he had struggled to quit, and when he had finally managed to do so via nicotine-containing vaping products, he became an advocate of the harm reduction tools.
People with a tendency to smoke will also be inclined to try vaping
Danko had explained that the only pattern of correlation between vaping and smoking arises from the fact that the type of people who are likely to experiment with e-cigarettes, might also be more likely to experiment with cigarettes and other tobacco products. “But the truth is, the use among young people is mostly experimental. They have found that teenagers who tried e-cigarettes also tried smoking. They’ve said that because they tried e-cigarettes and then they tried smoking, the e-cigarettes must have led to the smoking. But it’s just not the case,” he said.
In line with Dr. Danko’s observations, studies from different parts of the world have indicated that in places where e-cigarette use has increased, smoking rates have decreased and ultimately vaping rates started decreasing as well. In the meantime, the US remains obsessed with banning flavours.