Tuesday's new CDC smoking statistics prove vaping is NOT a gateway to smoking

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its latest national smoking statistics last Tuesday, and tobacco use among both teens and adults has plummeted to record lows.  The data flies in the face of multiple statements by officials of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) who claim that vaping is a gateway to smoking. 

According to the CDC press release, around 16 percent of adults (over the age of 18) were regular smokers in 2016.  A year later, the percentage had dropped to 13.9 percent.  Teenagers are also showing tremendous progress with only 9 percent of high school students reported to be regular smokers.  That’s the lowest number in recorded history.  And what’s more, even the regular smokers are smoking less cigarettes on a daily basis.

“Among daily smokers, the average number of cigarettes smoked per day declined from about 17 cigarettes in 2005 to 14 cigarettes in 2016. The proportion of daily smokers who smoked 20 to 29 cigarettes per day dropped from 34.9 percent in 2005 to 28.4 percent in 2016, while the proportion who smoked fewer than 10 cigarettes per day rose from 16.4 percent in 2005 to 25 percent in 2016.”

The American Cancer Society (ACS), a non-profit with a history of somewhat contrarian views on vaping, was quick to credit the new national lows in smoking rates to the recent rise in popularity of electronic cigarettes of past few years.  In a June 18 press release, the ACS not only endorses vaping, they seem to openly blast any public health organization which doesn’t. 

“In this rapidly changing tobacco landscape, it is critical that consumers receive accurate information about different tobacco products and the role of nicotine in tobacco-related disease. Many consumers are misinformed about the harms of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS)…Many adults believe, erroneously, that ENDS are as harmful as combustible tobacco products, and the level of public understanding has deteriorated over time. In 2012, only 11.5% of respondents to a national survey held this view. By 2015, 35.7% of respondents mistakenly believed that the harm associated with electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) was ‘about the same’ as that of smoking conventional cigarettes.”
“Although many ENDS deliver nicotine, flavor additives, and other chemicals, they do not burn tobacco, a process that yields an estimated 7000 chemicals, including at least 70 carcinogens. Thus, public misunderstanding underscores the urgent need for consumer education about the absolute and relative risks posed by different tobacco products and to reinvigorate smokers’ understanding of the importance of quitting combustible tobacco.”

The ACS press release is especially noteworthy in this age of massive anti-vaping regulation and legislation.   Other non-profits which should know better - like the American Lung Association, for example – refuse to endorse vaping as a significantly healthier alternative to smoking.  They also tend to intentionally mislead and confuse the public by suggesting that the e-liquids used in electronic cigarettes is a “tobacco product.”  In truth e-liquids are 100% tobacco-free. 

Until earlier this year, the American Cancer Society made similar statements, but they became “reformed” in February 2018 when they officially broke with the FDA and the ALA to publicly endorse vaping as a smoking cessation product.  Now, if only the CDC and the FDA would do the same.

Related Article:  Parents - not the FDA - need to educate their kids on the dangers of smoking, vaping

 (Image courtesy of Shutterstock)

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