Busting Myths: Have teenage smoking rates really gone up in the US..?

So the myth goes something like this-"The fall in youth smoking that we saw for many many years in the United States last year, for the first time, stopped falling; and while that was happening, e-cigarette use was rising dramatically."

Those were the words of Simon Chapman, known anti-vaping crusader who appeared recently on the ABC’s PM show.

We’re not sure why Simon would lie to support his side of the issue [Editor: We have a few ideas...], but the truth, as confirmed by the United States government’s Centre for Disease Control (CDC) is that teenage CIGARETTE smoking rates have actually declined significantly in tandem with an uptake of e-cigarette vaping by teenage tobacco smokers:

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Graph credit: Jacob Sullum – Reason magazine                             Data credit: CDC

 

Perhaps one reason for Simon’s misconception about the CDC data is that the CDC still continues to classify nicotine-bearing e-cigarettes as ‘tobacco products’ – despite these products being tobacco-free. This misleading technicality allows the CDC to continue claiming, despite contradictions in their own data, that teenage ‘smoking’ rates have remained unchanged despite an uptake in vaping.

The truth is that teenage smoking rates in the US have dropped to record lows, coinciding (oddly enough) with an uptake in vaping by previous cigarette smokers.

 

The tragedy in all this is that commentators on “public health” are able to get away with making false or misleading claims on a national broadcaster no less, to an Australian audience that knows no better about the American experience of legalised vaping.

Myths like these do nothing to inform the public debate here at a time when Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) decided to continue with their ban on e-cigs containing nicotine despite overwhelming evidence that it is a safe and effective smoking cessation tool.

Satyajeet Marar is the Director of MyChoice Australia

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