(Reported Oct 3) A new study indicates that heavy vaping remains rare among teenagers who don’t smoke.
The main justification for state and federal bans on flavored e-cigarettes is the “epidemic” of underage vaping, which former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb worried might result in “a whole generation of young people becoming addicted to nicotine.” A new analysis of survey data on e-cigarette use by teenagers suggests such fears are overblown, since heavy vaping is rare among adolescents who are not current or former smokers.
The study, reported yesterday in the online journal Qeios, is based on 2017 and 2018 data from the National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS). Although it does not include results for this year, when e-cigarette use by teenagers rose again, the analysis demonstrates the fallacy of casually equating vaping with nicotine addiction.
Between 2017 and 2018, the prevalence of past-month e-cigarette use among high school students rose by 78 percent, from 11.7 percent to 20.8 percent. Last fall that surge prompted Gottlieb to propose new restrictions on the flavored e-cigarettes that are popular among teenagers, which are also overwhelmingly preferred by former smokers. Last month the FDA cited the continuation of the upward trend in underage vaping as the justification for the outright ban it plans to impose on e-cigarette flavors other than tobacco.
Jacob Sullum – Reason.com – October 3, 2019.