Teens And Cigarette Smoking
Just when it appears that we’re finally making some measurable headway in reducing the number of young people that smoke cigarettes in the United States along comes E-Cigarettes. Despite the claim that e-cigarettes will steer kids away from cigarette smoking, a new NIH (National Institutes of Health) funded study indicates that the opposite may in fact be true in the long term scheme of things.
Literally after decades long educational campaigns, PSA’s (public service announcements) and improved label warnings on cigarette packaging, there were fewer than ever before middle school and teens smoking cigarettes. That was at least until e-cigarettes came on the scene. According to the study funded by the NIH there is now a growing number of kids grade 6 – 12 who are trying/using vaporized electronic devices, which is known as “vaping”.
And while it’s good that kids aren’t “smoking cigarettes” and being exposed to the risks of contracting lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, and numerous other associated illnesses that are connected to cigarette smoking, it must be said that these kids are still being introduced to the highly addictive drug nicotine.
If kids are becoming addicted to nicotine it stands to reason that they’re more apt to try cigarettes or other harmful nicotine products somewhere down the line in their future to satisfy their nicotine cravings.
To determine whether these presumptions had any basis in fact researchers looked to the available studies, namely the CDC’s National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) which was first conducted (was begun & then continued) in 1999. The survey was used to gauge the exposure, attitudes and behaviors of kids in grades 6 – 12 to cigarette use and other tobacco products.
Researchers zeroed in on the information collected from 2004 to 2014, before and after e-cigarettes became available in 2007, to answer some specific questions:
Question: From 2004 to 2014 did cigarette smoking decrease among the survey participants?
Answer: Yes. In 2004, 16% percent said they had smoked cigarettes in the last month, which categorizes you as a smoker, by 2014 only 6% percent of the kids said they had smoked a cigarette in the last 30 days.
Question: Did the rate of decline of smokers in the survey increase with the arrival of e-cigarettes in 2007?
Answer: No, in fact many of the kids who were smokers added vaping to their nicotine use. The same is true for the non-smokers, many added vaping. So it was determined that the arrival of e-cigarettes had no measurable effect on kids curbing their cigarette smoking.
Question: Did the arrival of e-cigarettes (vaping) have any effect on the number of kids who are using tobacco products?
Answer: Yes. The study findings indicated not only did the number of kids who had previously not used tobacco or nicotine products increase across the board, but kids who were considered low risk for cigarette smoking increased as well. The number of kids who used e-cigarettes and tobacco products (cigarettes) or both in 2014 was greater than the number who smoked cigarettes in 2009.
The study research clearly shows an increase in kids smoking cigarettes and vaping. There was also an increase in cigarette smoking among kids who previously were not at risk for becoming a smoker. Other studies have shown that e-cigarette users are 3 times as likely to start smoking within a year.
The 2015 NYTS survey indicates that the other study’s findings are correct. Kids who participated in the NYTS study showed that in 2014 to 2015 there was no decline in cigarette smoking among middle school kids and that the percentage of high schoolers who admitted to being a smoker in 2015 had actually increased, reversing a trend that had been on a steady decline since 1999.
Additionally, e-cigarettes come along with their own set of health ramifications which includes asthma, respiratory infections and lung inflammation. All in all e-cigarettes get a FAILING GRADE!