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

In spite of numerous unsubstantiated claims that vaping is a gateway to teen smoking, the CDC has recently released a new report which debunks this notion as pure bunk.  In fact, the agency even claims that e-cigarettes could reduce the occurrences of young people initiating in the use of tobacco products altogether.

The paper states that vaping devices were among the most popular form of “tobacco product” among students with 11.3 percent of those surveyed admitting to having tried them at some point in the past.  But even this statement is somewhat misleading.  E-cigs are completely tobacco-free.  Yet they are classified as tobacco products under the FDA deeming regulations.


Furthermore, the statistics do not consider whether the person being surveyed is a daily user or has just experimented with vaping and smoking occasionally, like college students are prone to do.  Meanwhile, the report also documents that as smoking rates rose from 15.8 percent in 2011 to 8 percent in 2016, e-cigarette use also increased from 1.5 percent to 16 percent in 2015.  But the real shocker is that vaping among college students fell sharply in 2016, plummeting to 11.3 percent overall. 

CDC debunks gateway theory!

The CDC study entitled Tobacco Use Among Middle and High School Students – United States, 2011-2016 offers some insights into why many anti-vaping lobbyists may be blaming vaping for the increased teen smoking rates of the last five years.   As smoking rates increased steadily, so did the rates of teen experimentation with vaping devices. 

However, the sharp decline in e-cig use of 2016 seems to indicate that the “vaping as a gateway” theory is officially dead.  Dr. Michael Siegel of the Boston University School of Public Health is a vocal pro-vaping supporter, and he views the CDC report as a big win for the vaping community.

“The rate of decline in youth smoking is unprecedented. This despite the rapid rise in e-cigarette experimentation. These data are simply not consistent with the hypothesis that vaping is going to re-normalize smoking and that e-cigarettes are a gateway to youth smoking.
The drop in e-cigarette use is also reassuring because it suggests that vaping is largely a social phenomenon that involves experimentation and that the addictive potential of these products is quite low. It also suggests that the popularity of youth vaping has peaked and that concerns about vaping taking over and leading to nicotine addiction among a huge proportion of youth are not warranted.”

The reception of the CDC report by the mainstream media is rather mixed.  Instead of focusing on the overwhelming proof that vaping is not a gateway to teen smoking, some outlets are targeting their headlines to paint vaping in a less-than-favorable light.

For example, the New York Post ran a story on June 16 with the eye-grabbing headline, Teens no longer think vaping is cool.  And The Daily Caller is spinning the new CDC statistics in the totally opposite direction, claiming that the CDC Fears Teen Vaping Is Out Of Control Despite Plunge In 2016.

The CDC report should be one of the most important news stories of the day.  Medical professionals should be lining up in huge numbers to confirm that the report is indeed accurate. Even if the mainstream media is slow to give the vaping industry high praise, the vaping community is thrilled by the news that teens are no longer vaping or smoking as much as in previous years.   


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