Teen Ecig Use in the News

Let me start off by saying that I am in no way in favor of teen smoking.  If I could prevent any teen from making the same habit forming mistake that I made at that age, I would.  But there comes a point where teens will be teens and there is only so much we can do to protect them from themselves.  Giving them a safer choice is sometimes the best alternative.

A recent article on NPR entitled Kids’ Use of Electronic Cigarettes Doubles takes a negative stance in citing the increased use of ecigs among 6-12 grader students in 2011 and 2012.  And of course the author mentions the electronic cigarettes come in flavors, so they must be marketed to kids fallacy.  All of this leads to the other typical argument that ecigs are a first step to tobacco use.

The funny thing is that statistics for actual tobacco use among teens is conspicuously absent from the article.  I did a little (very little) searching and found a University of Michigan article that cites a recent study on just that.  Smoking among teens actually declined in 2011 and 2012 after leveling off in the years prior.

Taken together, the two statistics mentioned above show that teen tobacco use has begun to decline again with the introduction of ecigs to the market.  Now there are a lot of other factors to be sure, but the same correlation has been noted in the wider market.  Overall tobacco use in the U.S. has seen the first decline in years, and there is ample evidence that electronic cigarettes are the reason.

The efforts of the anti tobacco movement have largely failed in recent years to promote further declines in tobacco use.  It appears that a percentage of the population is going to continue to want their nicotine, no matter the cost, and that includes teens.  Why not promote ecigs as the healthier way to get it?  They seem to be working, whether the riteous anti-smokers like it or not.

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