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Did the CDC just confirm that vaping is not a gateway to teen smoking?

Posted by Matt Rowland on

The anti-tobacco lobby tends to lump vaping into the same category as combustible cigarettes, often claiming that e-cig use among teenagers increases their chances of becoming future smokers.  The reasons for these sorts of mythical conspiracy theories often stem from improper scientific research methods being applied in individual research studies. 

For example, some researchers define a teen vaper as any youngster who has ever tried an electronic vaping device in the past, even if the teenager only experimented with it once or twice.  They also tend to use the same standard of measure regarding smoking.  In doing so, their numbers and percentages of both teen smokers and teen vapers can easily become highly inflated and exaggerated. 

Related Article: 3 REASONS VAPING IS NOT A ‘GATEWAY’ SMOKING

Meanwhile, public health agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) further muddy the waters of ignorance by publicly classifying both combustible cigarettes and e-cigs as “tobacco products,” even though vaping is essentially a 100% tobacco-free act.  A recent report released by the CDC earlier this year makes this same mistake, but the findings seem to oppose rather than support their intended hypothesis that vaping is a gateway to teen smoking.

The CDC ‘gateway’ vaping myth

The CDC study entitled Tobacco Use Among Middle and High School Students – United States, 2011-2016 states that vaping devices are among the most popular “tobacco products” of teenagers in America.  The report also states clearly that 11.3 percent of those surveyed in 2016 have admitted to using e-cigs in the past.  It also claims that e-cig use among teens rose sharply between 2011 and 2015 from a mere 1.5 percent to a whopping 16 percent. 

Related Article: E-CIG STUDY BY VCU DISPUTES CLAIMS THAT VAPING IS A GATEWAY TO SMOKING

Once again, the study’s findings fail to clarify just how often these young vapers vape.  The CDC makes no distinction between daily users or one-time vapers.  However, even if the CDC’s statistics happen to be true in the worst-case scenario, and every teen surveyed is a daily vaper, then the data shows something truly remarkable.

    • Teen vaping plummeted from the uber-high 16 percent of 2015 to a mere 11.3 percent a year later.
    • Teen smoking rates of combustible cigarettes are now at an all-time low of only 4.8 percent in 2016.

By reading between the lines, one can clearly see that both teen vaping and teen smoking rates are on the decline, which leads to the question:  Did the CDC just accidentally prove that vaping is not a gateway to teen smoking?

At least one public health expert tends to think so.  When Dr. Michael Siegel of the Boston University School of Public Health reviewed the CDC report, he was pleasantly surprised.  He was, however, rather angry at the CDC’s attempts to label e-cigs as a “tobacco product.”

Related Article:  NEW UK STUDY VIEWS VAPING IS A ‘ROADBLOCK’ TO TEEN SMOKING

Seigel also accused the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) for colluding with the CDC to intentionally mislead the American people of non-existent dangers related to vaping.  How did this collusion allegedly take place?  The CTP seems to have taken the numbers from the CDC report and posted them in a highly inaccurate chart on their website, even though the FDA/CTP knows very well that the numbers are just plain wrong. 

“This is dishonest and inaccurate because e-cigarette use is not a form of tobacco use. The truth is -- and CTP knows this -- that e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco. In fact, the whole point of e-cigarettes is that they are an alternative to using tobacco.”

“The rest of the story is that the Center for Tobacco Products is lying to the public.”

The CDC report should be one of the leading stories in the news today.  Teen smoking rates are on the downslide, and so is teen vaping.  Yet very few mainstream media outlets are reporting on the true findings.  Medical professionals should be lining up in huge numbers to confirm once and for all that vaping saves lives.  And vaping does not lead to teen smoking.  Period.

Related Article:  WHY IS CDC DIRECTOR THOMAS FRIEDEN LYING ABOUT VAPING?


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The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's and do not necessarily represent the viewpoints, policy or company position of Vapes.com, the rest of our staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.



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