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CDC Ecig Teen Scene

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention covers up great news on smoking by worrying over rising teen ecig use.

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The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been running the National Youth Risk Behaviour Survey (YRBS) since 1991. Part of this survey has included a look at teen smoking rates but they’ve recently included an analysis of vaping too. This year’s figures are great news for the smoking rates in teens but the CDC would much rather people worry about a growth in electronic cigarette use.

The report states: “Although current cigarette use decreased significantly from 28 percent in 1991 to 11 percent in 2015, new data from the 2015 survey found that 24 percent of high school students reported using e-cigarettes during the past 30 days.”

Commenting on its release, CDC Director Tom Frieden is quoted as saying: “Current cigarette smoking is at an all-time low, which is great news. However, it’s troubling to see that students are engaging in new risk behaviors, such as using e-cigarettes. We must continue to invest in programs that help reduce all forms of tobacco use, including e-cigarettes, among youth.”

The American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) has described the news that teen smoking has continued to decrease in the United States as “very good”.

“Since the majority of adult smokers began smoking and became addicted to nicotine as teens, these results should make public health advocates very happy. And to a certain extent it does, but members of the gloom and doom group still have their gripes. Among them is Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Tom Frieden.”

The ACSH wonders why Frieden is singling out vaping as being worthy of mention when the use of hookahs has also risen. Health risks of smoking hookah include exposure to toxic chemicals that are not filtered out by the water and risk of infectious disease when hookahs are shared. Considering that hookahs deliver combusted tobacco by-products yet electronic cigarettes are at least 95% safer it does appear strange.

“Singling out one alternative to deadly cigarette smoking seems more than a little biased. Teens like to explore — new foods, new clothing, and yes, new risks. That is unlikely to change. Certainly we must continue to educate them about the risks of smoking, but we need to give them the real facts about the alternatives, and not just lump all tobacco products under the heading of equally dangerous,” ACSH add.

“We must continue to invest in programs that help reduce all forms of tobacco use, including e-cigarettes, among youth,” Frieden said.

In the meantime, while something so much safer than smoking is being demonised, it would be sad to see the falling rates stall because teens are dissuaded from using vaping to avoid the perils of tobacco smoke.

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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