As Vaping Became Popular Among Young, Smoking Rates Fell

TUESDAY, Nov. 20, 2018 — The advent of the e-cigarette appears to have spurred a huge drop in tobacco smoking rates among teenagers and young adults, a new study claims.

Previous research has argued that vaping could prove to be a gateway drug for smoking, by getting youngsters hooked on nicotine and used to the physical actions associated with smoking.

Instead, smoking among teens dropped off dramatically after e-cigarette use became more widespread in 2013, said lead researcher David Levy. He is a professor with the Georgetown University Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, in Washington, D.C.

“The rate of decline in cigarette use tripled,” said Levy.

The new findings come days after U.S. regulators pledged to strengthen policies that prevent the sale of flavored vaping products to minors.

“I will not allow a generation of children to become addicted to nicotine through e-cigarettes,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in a U.S. Food and Drug Administration statement. “We won’t let this pool of kids, a pool of future potential smokers, of future disease and death, to continue to build.”

For the new study, Levy and his colleagues analyzed responses to five different national surveys that track tobacco use.

The surveys showed that, prior to 2013, cigarette smoking was gradually declining among young people between the ages of 15 and 25, the researchers reported.

But after 2013, that gradual decline turned into a steep decline. The annual relative reduction in smoking tripled among 10th and 12th graders, the investigators found.

Why? Levy and his colleagues suggested that, in part, it’s because vaping became popular.

Past 30-day vaping among high school students increased from 1.5 percent in 2011 to 4.5 percent in 2013, and to 13.4 percent in 2014.

“When e-cigarette use came in, smoking rates dropped between 25 and 40 percent,” Levy said. “Smoking rates in young adults have dropped by almost 50 percent, and most of that [has been] since 2013.”

Levy said he’s worried that tough e-cigarette regulations could reverse those trends.

“My concern is if we have very strict policies on e-cigarettes, it’s kind of like throwing out the baby with the bathwater,” Levy said. “We might see more smoking.”

But Patricia Folan, director of the Northwell Health Center for Tobacco Control in Great Neck, N.Y., said the new report gives vaping too much credit for the decline in tobacco use among young people.

“Anti-tobacco media campaigns, increasing taxes on cigarettes, tobacco-free environments, the removal of cigarettes and other tobacco products from some pharmacies and other retail stores, as well as efforts to restrict and reduce point-of-sale advertising have all contributed to a reduction of smoking among teens and adults,” Folan said.

Levy agreed that these measures have played a part, but argued that “of the between 25 and 50 percent drop in smoking rates, maybe 10 percent might be explained by other policies.”

In fact, the availability of e-cigarettes might make other anti-smoking efforts more effective, Levy added.

“Those other policies probably have become a lot more powerful as a result of e-cigarettes being there as a substitute for cigarettes,” he said.

But Folan noted that even if young people are vaping rather than smoking, they’re still being exposed to nicotine.

“Vaping is often perceived as a healthy alternative for teens and adults,” she said. “However, for teens the exposure to nicotine can have an adverse effect on the developing brain and lead to lifelong addiction.”

It also shouldn’t be assumed that e-cigarettes are harmless, said Dr. Len Horovitz, a pulmonary specialist with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. The vapor inhaled by users contains a wide array of chemicals.

“This is not a non-toxic thing to do, just because it’s not burning paper and burning tobacco,” Horovitz said. “There’s nothing OK about vaping.”

The study was published online Nov. 20 in the journal Tobacco Control.

More information

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more about upcoming e-cigarette regulations.

Posted: November 2018

Source: Read Full Article

FDA Considers Curbing E-Cigarette Sales After Stats Show A Surge In Teen Vaping

Following a huge increase in vape users among teenagers, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plans to impose restrictions in the sale of e-cigarettes throughout the United States.

According to a news report by the Washington Post, the action will potentially affect the industry that has grown “exponentially” over the years with little oversight by the government.

The report quoted a senior agency official and detailed that the Commissioner of FDA, Scott Gottlieb, is expected to ban the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes which are freely available in tens of thousands of gas stations and convenience stores across the country.

Apart from flavored e-cigarettes, there are plans to ban menthol in regular cigarettes as well. According to the report, the decision hasn’t been taken suddenly, and the agency has been collecting comments from the public on such a prohibition. The move will likely receive severe backlash from the cigarette industry.

The expected decision to impose a ban on the sales of e-cigarettes was spurred after preliminary statistics by the government revealed that in 2018, the use of e-cigarettes has increased to 7.7 percent among high schoolers and close to 50 percent among middle schoolers, the report by the Washington Post said. The current statistics show that 3.5 million children across the country were vaping at the beginning of 2018, and above 1 million from 2017

According to the report, Gottlieb was previously a member of the board of a North Carolina vaping company and once favored the e-cigarette industry, had delayed some critical e-cigarette rules after assuming the office of commissioner in 2017.

Recently, however, he has said that his “first priority is protecting children from tobacco-related disease.” Shedding light on the vaping data, Gottlieb said during an interview before his final decision on e-cigarette policy that strict action will be taken to save the younger generation from nicotine addiction.

“We now have evidence that a new generation is being addicted to nicotine, and we can’t tolerate that.”

The federal government also said on Thursday, November 8, that cigarette smoking has reached the lowest level ever recorded among U.S. adults, and that the rate of smoking among young people has dropped even farther, per USA Today.

The data — provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) — showed that about 14 percent of adults in the U.S. — or 34 million people –regularly smoked cigarettes or some days in the previous month, down from 15.5 percent in 2016. The stats further showed that “about 10 percent of people aged 18 to 24 years smoked cigarettes in 2017, down from 13 percent in 2016.”

Source: Read Full Article