“Alarm bells about a United States’ youth vaping epidemic have now been proven to be false,” says Nancy Loucas, Executive Coordinator of CAPHRA (Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates).
Her comments follow a new survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food & Drug Administration (FDA) which suggests that youth vaping rates appear to be dropping, compared to pre-pandemic levels.
“CAPHRA has long been calling out Bloomberg’s anti-vaping and anti-nicotine activism. We now have government data that completely contradicts their claims of an exploding youth vaping epidemic,” says Ms Loucas.
Titled ‘Notes from the Field: E-cigarette Use Among Middle and High School Students — United States, 2022’, the data showed 9.4% of middle and high schoolers surveyed reported currently using e-cigarettes. Whereas, in 2019 20% of middle and high school students reported currently vaping. In 2020, that number was 13.1%.
“When you look at just middle school students, just 3.3% are vaping. That’s not an epidemic! It’s no wonder the CDC continues to delay publishing results from its latest Youth Risk Behaviour Survey (YRBS). The falling trend would only prove to legislators that any talk of a youth vaping epidemic is purely imaginative,” says Ms Loucas.
CAPHRA says any claims that flavours hook kids into vaping have also proven to be a complete beat up. The 2021 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) showed that only 13.2% of current youth e-cigarette users cited using them because of flavours.
In fact, nearly half of the youth surveyed cited curiosity as the reason for trying e-cigarettes. Most cited trying them because a friend used them. Only a small majority put trying or using e-cigarettes down to flavours.
“Politicians around the world are under pressure to restrict access and flavours. They need to understand that the reason the CDC is increasingly hiding vaping data is because it doesn’t suit funders like Bloomberg and their anti-vaping activism,” says Ms Loucas
CAPHRA says Lindsey Stroud – visiting fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum and director of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance’s Consumer Center – hit the nail on the head in a recent column: ‘The trend is clear: youth vaping is declining, and youth cigarette use is essentially non-existent’.
“Anti-vaping activists, university academics, and many in the media love exaggerating youth vaping. Interestingly, however, their claims and stories are increasingly anecdotal. That’s because the empirical data doesn’t support their arguments.
“The youth vaping rate in the United States has been in steady decline. In fact, youth vaping in the US has plummeted by 60% over the past two years. Likewise in countries like New Zealand, data continues to show that very few non-smoking teenagers take up vaping, and that vaping is an offramp to smoking, not an onramp,” says Ms Loucas.
CAPHRA remains firmly against youth vaping. However, it’s increasingly concerned that some countries are making it harder for adult smokers to successfully switch from deadly cigarettes to safer nicotine products because of exaggerated claims about youth vaping.
“Limiting the likes of flavours won’t and doesn’t make a difference to youth vaping rates. It only penalises adults desperate to quit smoking. Legislators need to remember adults love flavours and need viable access to e-cigarettes if they’re to stay off the cancer sticks,” says Nancy Loucas.