WASHINGTON, DC — Only one in five teens are using nicotine while vaping, reports a new article published in the journal Tobacco Control. This finding is prompting the article’s authors to suggest that spikes in the use of e-cigarettes and vapor products may not actually be fueling a ‘nicotine epidemic’ among teens.
The article reports findings of the 2015 Monitoring the Future Survey, which surveyed 15,000 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students about their vaping experiences. For the first time in the survey’s history, students who reported prior usage of a vapor product were asked what substance they inhaled the last time they vaped.
Among those who had ever vaped, “just flavouring” was by far the most commonly used substance at last use for around two thirds of students across all three grades. This answer was more common than all the others combined.
Vaping of nicotine came in a distant second, with one in five (20%) 10th graders, a similar proportion (22%) of 12th graders, and 13% of 8th graders, giving this answer. Also surveyed in the question were marijuana (7-8% across all grades), ‘don’t know,’ and ‘other.’
The American Vaping Association, a leading voice for the benefits of vapor products, called for health authorities to reconsider their positions based on this new data.
“These results should cause a reframing of the debate around vapor products,” says Gregory Conley President of the AVA. “For years, activists and government officials have loudly proclaimed that vaping is fueling an ‘epidemic’ of nicotine addiction among youth. These are faulty assumptions based upon no evidence.”
The same 2015 MTF study found that teen smoking declined by approximately 50% since 2010.
Conley argues that the results call into question whether the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) will be able to play a significant role in reducing youth access to vapor products.
“The FDA claims that its regulation is needed to protect youth, but the agency’s rule does nothing to stop teens from purchasing products that do not contain nicotine,” explains Conley. “Instead of protecting youth, the FDA’s actions will cost tens of thousands of jobs and take away from adults the freedom to use less harmful alternatives to smoking. And for what? To regulate the vapor products used by 20% of youth users?”
In the past year, both the Royal College of Physicians and Public Health England have released reports estimating vaping to be at least 95% less hazardous than smoking.
About the American Vaping Association
The American Vaping Association is a nonprofit organization that advocates for policies that encourage the growth and sustainability of small- and medium-sized businesses in the rapidly growing vaping and electronic cigarette industry. The AVA was founded by Gregory Conley, a consumer and industry advocate with a long track record of advocating for vapor products dating back to 2010.
We are dedicated to educating the public and government officials about public health benefits offered by vapor products, which are battery-powered devices that heat a liquid nicotine or nicotine-free solution and create an inhalable vapor. The AVA is not a trade group and does not speak for any particular businesses, including our industry sponsors.