April 22, 2015
“That this is happening is alarming.”
Results of the 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) was released by the CDC last week. The news is not good. The survey offers convincing evidence that cigarettes and cigars are proving to be a gateway to electronic cigarettes.
New York Times columnist Joe Nocera reported in his recent article that CDC Director, Thomas Frieden could not stop talking about how awful this finding was. How bad is it?
The new survey found that high school students use of e-cigarettes in the previous 30 days was 13.4%. You read that right, 13.4%. Three times higher than the 4.5% recorded in the 2013 survey. By far the biggest increase of ANY tobacco product. But how could this be?
The 2013 NYTS showed that high school teen use of all tobacco products was 22.9%. The new 2014 survey shows teen use of all tobacco products was 24.6% – a modest increase of 1.7%. That increase represents an increase of approximately 63,000 students from one year to the next. What is shocking is that 2014 teen use of e-cigarettes reflects an increase of approximately 179,000 students! Even if we assume that all of the additional 63,000 students in the 2014 survey were using e-cigarettes, that would only account for about one third of the increase in e-cigarette use. Where did the other 116,000 students come from? How can this be?
The numbers just don’t add up. Unless – some of the high school students who were using tobacco products other than e-cigarettes in 2013, switched to e-cigarettes in 2014. To test our hypothesis, we looked at student use of tobacco products other than e-cigarettes.
In 2014, high school student use of cigarettes dropped from 12.7% in 2013 to 9.2%. That is a 25% drop in one year. A 42% drop in teen cigarette use since 2011. Almost 48,000 students that used tobacco cigarettes in 2013, did not use them in 2014. But even if we subtract these 48,000 from the unexplained 116,000 students using e-cigarettes, we are still left with 68,000 unexplained students. We kept looking.
In 2014, high school student use of cigars dropped from 11.9% in 2013 to 8.2%. A 30% drop in one year. Teen cigar use has dropped 35% since 2011. So 85% of the four year decline in cigar use was in the last year. This one year decline represents 44,000 students.
Out of an increase of 179,000 students who used e-cigarettes in 2014 that did not use them in 2013:
- 63,000 additional students were added from 2013 to 2014.
- 48,000 students who used tobacco cigarettes in 2013 did not use them in 2014.
- 44,000 students who used cigars in 2013 did not use them in 2014.
- A total of 155,000 students, out of 179,000 e-cigarette users, might be explained by these numbers.
- More importantly, it appears that cigarettes and cigars were a gateway to e-cigarette use for a staggering 92,000 students.
Small wonder that CDC Director Frieden could not stop talking about how awful this finding was! He went on to say, “That this is happening is alarming.”
Mitch Zeller, Director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products echoed Director Frieden’s concern – “The 2014 results from the National Youth Tobacco Survey are astounding and disturbing.”
Can there be any doubt that our public health leaders are looking out for the health and welfare of our youth? It is “alarming”, “astounding” and “disturbing” that products like cigarettes and cigars, products that we have studied and know everything there is to know about, are acting as a gateway to e-cigarettes! The evidence is clear. America’s youth who start with cigarettes and cigars are then moving on to e-cigarettes!
We know that e-cigarettes are not harmless! We know that e-cigarettes contain nicotine! As Director Zeller pointed out, we don’t know that e-cigarettes are addictive – but they certainly could be!
Thank goodness we have men like Director Frieden and Director Zeller. Experts, with many years of experience, dedicated to stopping this epidemic of e-cigarette use dead in its tracks. And get our kids back to cigarettes and cigars.
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Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at firstname.lastname@example.org .
The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.