A recent story published on by Forbes Magazine today, April 17, 2015, reports that teen smoking is down to 9.4% as high-schoolers turn to vaping as a healthier alternative. This is the first time in over twenty years that the percentage of teenage smokers has dropped to below 10%.
While this would appear to be good news to most Americans, many in the anti-vaping community are using this information as a reason to propose harsher restrictions and federal regulation on e-cigs and vaping devices. Even the CDC is jumping on board, claiming that the rise in teenage vaping will ultimately lead to an increased use of tobacco products.
To be fair, the article also talks about the rise in popularity of hookahs among teens which are considered far more risky than any brand of vape pen or e-cig. But nonetheless, all methods of vaping are being lumped into the same category whether we like it or not.
“E-cigarettes are the hot new thing…they are hip, they are cool, they have candy flavors that appeal to young kids, and they are amazingly discreet,” says Dr. Harold J. Farber of Texas Children’s Hospital.
Farber goes on to make even more outlandish statements. In the Forbes article, he essentially equates using e-cigs with the smoking of tobacco cigarettes.
“We had been seeing tobacco use substantially dropping over the last 20 years and now with the promotion of these new innovative products, we’re starting to see their use rapidly rise,” Farber states.
But Farber keeps going. He also demands that the FDA take a more active role in regulating all e-cigs, vaping devices, and hookahs so that manufacturers cannot so easily target the selling of these products to minors, even though most states already have legislation in place that make this practice illegal. He also believes that the advertising of certain flavors of e-juice like “bubble gum” or “chocolate” should be outlawed as well.
But to vaping enthusiasts with young children, these new statistics might offer a bit of hope. Most smokers began their nasty habit at a very young age, only to continue smoking for 10, 20 or even 30 years before they were able to successfully quit smoking or chewing tobacco altogether. While we would prefer that our children not smoke or vape at all, at least the younger generation of today is acting a bit more responsibly than the press is giving them credit for. Instead of reaching for Marlboro’s or Winston’s, they are experimenting with heathier vape pens and e-cigs instead. Instead of smacking our teenagers on the nose for picking up a Blu e-cig, shouldn’t we be patting them on the back for avoiding tobacco instead?