Teen Vaping

Posted 21st August 2019 by Dave Cross
“Vape use up 30% in Los Angeles County high school students,” screams Santa Clarita’s The Signal newspaper. Reporting on Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s California Student Tobacco Survey and California Healthy Kids Survey, the writer managed to hide away the real impact of vaping on the State’s youth.

“More than 30% of high school students across L.A. County have reported using e-cigarette products, prompting health officials to share the dangers of underage smoking,” writes Brennon Dixson.

Dixson’s previous experience with the Press Telegram in Long Beach and the Daily Breeze in Torrance has obviously imbued him with the ability to copy-paste press release headlines in an uncritical manner.

Oh, and vaping isn’t smoking, Brennon.

“To reverse the increasing use of e-cigarettes among youth, the CDC recommends state and local governments implement a ban on the sale of flavoured tobacco products, according to Monday’s release,” adds Dixson.

He regurgitates that vaping among high school students has been rising since 2011, but why is this a surprise given that vaping didn’t really exist prior to this date?

Moreover, the continual conflation of smoking and vaping is (at best) highly disingenuous. This doesn’t matter to Barbara Ferrer, director of Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, who is quoted as saying: “A new generation has become addicted to nicotine through flavoured vape products like e-cigarettes. The epidemic of our youth becoming addicted to nicotine by flavours and flavoured tobacco is unacceptable, and we will work to reverse this trend as we partner with others to ensure a tobacco-free generation.”

We know that vaping is pro ensuring a tobacco-free generation. Last week’s report from the U.S. Progressive Policy Institute [link] highlighted how vaping has replaced smoking – and therefore benefitted the health of the public, regardless of age, and stated there is “no reasonable evidential basis for concerns that e-cigarettes are a gateway”.

Here in the U.K. this week, latest statistics from NHS Digital show that more schoolchildren than ever before are rejecting cigarettes: 16% of pupils have ever smoked tobacco, down from 19% in 2016 and 49% in 1996.

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of ASH, said: “It’s excellent news that only one in six children aged 11-15 have ever tried smoking, a significant decline compared to 1996 when it was just under half. Furthermore, in line with the ASH survey data for 2019, the proportion trying e-cigarettes has not increased and vaping remains largely concentrated among those who are already smokers.”

It's difficult to believe that American children are so different to British ones. Even Castaic Middle School Principal Bob Brauneisen let the truth slip when he said: “Vapes have basically replaced smoking.”

Hidden away in Dixson’s piece: “Smoking prevalence for high school students in Los Angeles County reached a historic low of 1.7%.”

Vaping isn’t smoking, it doesn’t act as a gateway to smoking and it is reducing the numbers of teens who smoke. It is as true for America as it is for the United Kingdom; vaping saves lives – but for some reason this is never the message people like Dixson want to convey.

Resources:

  • Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use among Young People in England 2018, NHS Digital – [link]
 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker