e-cigs now have teens smoking less tobacco than ever

posted at 12:41 pm on December 16, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

Although you’d have a hard time telling it from the media coverage, this sounds like pretty good news to me. Cigarette smoking among teens is down to all time lows, and part of the reason seems to be the advent of e-cigarettes.

Electronic cigarettes have surpassed traditional smoking in popularity among teens, the government’s annual drug use survey finds.

Even as tobacco smoking by teens dropped to new lows, use of e-cigarettes reached levels that surprised researchers. The findings marked the survey’s first attempt to measure the use of e-cigarettes by people that young.

Nearly 9 percent of eighth-graders said they’d used an e-cigarette in the previous month, while just 4 percent reported smoking a traditional cigarette, said the report being released Tuesday by the National Institutes of Health.

The obvious disclaimer on this data is that teenagers 17 and below shouldn’t be smoking anything, and if they are that is a failure of the parents, not the government. But reality intrudes, and we have to face up to the fact that the old ways have not entirely disappeared and there are still kids smoking. (As a bit of disclosure about the bad old days, the only Christmas present my dad gave me when I was sixteen was a carton of Marlboros. But that’s a story for another day.)

With that said, the numbers for other student groups are equally heartening. Only 14% of high school seniors reported smoking a traditional cigarette in the last month, while 17% had “vaped” an e-cigarette. It would be better to have them doing neither, but if you had to pick one, I’d take the option without the tar and the rest of the chemicals. Still, some of the “experts” can find cause to wring their hands.

“I worry that the tremendous progress that we’ve made over the last almost two decades in smoking could be reversed on us by the introduction of e-cigarettes,” said University of Michigan professor Lloyd Johnston, who leads the annual Monitoring the Future survey of more than 41,000 students.

Public education should be able to continue to drive down smoking rates, particularly among children. But in the meantime, having options such as this available should be seen as a a positive – or at least less bad – alternative. But still we have politicians such as Chris Christie in New Jersey and others next door in Pennsylvania who want to jack up sin tax rates on e-cigarettes to the same levels imposed on tobacco products. This seems self-defeating by definition unless all you’re actually interested in is socking away more tax dollars in the state coffers.


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OT – oil prices way down, Russian economy collapsed, their currency is in free fall, Iran desperate, Brazil in the dumpster and Venezuela in total disarray.

obama spoke and didn’t mention the Taliban.

Michelle wants to sleep in for Christmas. Eating is tiring.

Schadenfreude on December 16, 2014 at 12:43 PM

(As a bit of disclosure about the bad old days, the only Christmas present my dad gave me when I was sixteen was a carton of Marlboros. But that’s a story for another day.)

Must have been a banner year for the Bender Shaw family. Smoke up Jazzy.

Flange on December 16, 2014 at 12:45 PM

The argument against e-cigs simple proves that the fight against tobacco is more about controlling what people do, then it is about their health.

oscarwilde on December 16, 2014 at 12:45 PM

Nearly 9 percent of eighth-graders said they’d used an e-cigarette in the previous month, while just 4 percent reported smoking a traditional cigarette, said the report being released Tuesday by the National Institutes of Health.

And what percentage smoked a joint?

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on December 16, 2014 at 12:49 PM

Hey Lloyd Johnston, looks like e-cigs have done more in a couple of years than the “tremendous progress” of the previous decades, if what you really want is a reduction in teen smoking.

dkmonroe on December 16, 2014 at 12:50 PM

…we have politicians such as Chris Christie in New Jersey and others next door in Pennsylvania who want to jack up sin tax rates on e-cigarettes to the same levels imposed on tobacco products. This seems self-defeating by definition unless all you’re actually interested in is socking away more tax dollars in the state coffers.

I’ll put this in my no-shit-sherlock file.

gryphon202 on December 16, 2014 at 12:51 PM

The argument against e-cigs simple proves that the fight against tobacco is more about controlling what people do, then it is about their health.

oscarwilde on December 16, 2014 at 12:45 PM

It also shows that leftists don’t hate cigarette smoke, they hate cigarette smokers. This is an old hippy thing, where the hippies were pot smokers and their parents were cigarette smokers, so cigarettes were looked at as “establishment” and hated by the smelly hippies. That’s the genesis for all this anti-cigarette push of the left and their support, at the same time, of everyone smoking weed all day long (which is much, much worse for you, BTW).

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on December 16, 2014 at 12:52 PM

State budgets hardest hit.

reaganaut on December 16, 2014 at 12:52 PM

Talked to a client of mine last week who distributes e-cig related products and was told the issues with them are govt is not yet getting its cut and kids can use THC in them and nobody knows.

AndrewsDad on December 16, 2014 at 12:59 PM

Like keeping cigs or booze out of the hands of the under aged e-cigs will get out there. The one hope among hopes is that we can get them to see the light that you can vape a nicotine free e-liquid. I am one week from my fourth year of vaping and it has done wonders for me.

I knew full well that the Nanny Staters would be all over it once it caught their attention…they are so predictable, as are the “it’s for the children” taxers.

When I started the nicotine content was 24 mg / ml <—-a bit on the strong side.

I just received my latest batch that I will have to cut to .75 mg / ml, so almost there! I will have apparently hit the finish line just in time, the rest of you are on your own.

I could easily win the argument with the control freaks and the tax happies, that if there is no nicotine (tobacco) in my juice then my vaping is no more a tobacco product than their car. Alas win the argument and still lose the battle. As this has been going on all over America for a couple of years. Appear before the town council, present sound evidence and a winning argument and then wait for them to vote for restriction anyway.

50 years old, no children and not concerned about my health. Why hang around for this BS.

Barleybaby on December 16, 2014 at 1:06 PM

The fundamental reason that smokers smoke is nicotine drug addiction. While getting the drug by a delivery system other than smoking (injection, inhaling, patch, gum, etc) is probably less harmful than smoking tobacco, it is still nicotine drug addiction.

The odds of e cigs helping a nicotine junkie quit cigarettes are probably as low as the odds of nicotine patches or nicotine gum working. The real solution is the same as for any other drug addiction: stop using the drug.

To that extent, products that make teens think they can use nicotine “safely” are probably not very advantageous. Once addicted, those teens will be long term nicotine users. The tobacco and pharma companies are partners in serving this nicotine junkie market with various delivery products.

Many of e-cig nicotine junkies will switch to the most effective delivery mechanism. The drug hits the brain with big whallop 8 seconds after inhaling the first puff on a cigarette.

village idiot on December 16, 2014 at 1:15 PM

The vehemence with which the Nannies have gone after vaping/e-cigs just proves that it was never about second hand smoke or health risks.

With Nannies, it’s always about controlling others lives and the rage they feel seeing someone do something they consider a vice.

Clark1 on December 16, 2014 at 1:17 PM

The obvious disclaimer on this data is that teenagers 17 and below shouldn’t be smoking anything, and if they are that is a failure of the parents, not the government.

why, because the government sets an arbitrary age on the purchase of a legal drug?

dbilly76 on December 16, 2014 at 1:23 PM

Chris Christie in New Jersey and others next door in Pennsylvania who want to jack up sin tax rates on e-cigarettes to the same levels imposed on tobacco products.

Is he willing to have the police use poetntially lethal force to ensure compliance with those taxes? If so, then the man is a ghoul and has no place in the party. If not, then why advocate for such taxes in the first place?

YahwehPundit on December 16, 2014 at 1:23 PM

Clark1 on December 16, 2014 at 1:17 PM

you’re very close, add “it is about the taxes” to your first sentence and your done. Always follow the dollars. Always.

DanMan on December 16, 2014 at 1:31 PM

The fundamental reason that smokers smoke is nicotine drug addiction. While getting the drug by a delivery system other than smoking (injection, inhaling, patch, gum, etc) is probably less harmful than smoking tobacco, it is still nicotine drug addiction.

The odds of e cigs helping a nicotine junkie quit cigarettes are probably as low as the odds of nicotine patches or nicotine gum working. The real solution is the same as for any other drug addiction: stop using the drug.

To that extent, products that make teens think they can use nicotine “safely” are probably not very advantageous. Once addicted, those teens will be long term nicotine users. The tobacco and pharma companies are partners in serving this nicotine junkie market with various delivery products.

Many of e-cig nicotine junkies will switch to the most effective delivery mechanism. The drug hits the brain with big whallop 8 seconds after inhaling the first puff on a cigarette.

village idiot on December 16, 2014 at 1:15 PM

Good points. I was gonna make them, but ya beat me to it.
This all is pretty much just to make people feel okay with the addiction. It’s like eating a bag of doughnuts because the bag had “half the calories!” printed on it.

whatcat on December 16, 2014 at 2:00 PM

While it is problematic that these kids are getting hooked on nicotine, at least they aren’t giving themselves lung cancer while they do it.

Count to 10 on December 16, 2014 at 2:07 PM

Also, it doesn’t smell as bad.

Count to 10 on December 16, 2014 at 2:12 PM

Of course libs complain. The liberal/Marxist ideal for a free society is to force everyone to behave exactly the way the liberals/Marxists want them to behave. Excepting the liberals/Marxists, of course.

The Rogue Tomato on December 16, 2014 at 2:34 PM

lot of people have used them to move to no nicotine fluids and continue to use for taste/other reasons.

dmacleo on December 16, 2014 at 2:36 PM

only one other 80’s movies buff on the board – Hi Flange! Now where’s that Psych guy?

Solipslip on December 16, 2014 at 2:41 PM

The fundamental reason that smokers smoke is nicotine drug addiction. While getting the drug by a delivery system other than smoking (injection, inhaling, patch, gum, etc) is probably less harmful than smoking tobacco, it is still nicotine drug addiction.

The odds of e cigs helping a nicotine junkie quit cigarettes are probably as low as the odds of nicotine patches or nicotine gum working. The real solution is the same as for any other drug addiction: stop using the drug.

To that extent, products that make teens think they can use nicotine “safely” are probably not very advantageous. Once addicted, those teens will be long term nicotine users. The tobacco and pharma companies are partners in serving this nicotine junkie market with various delivery products.

Many of e-cig nicotine junkies will switch to the most effective delivery mechanism. The drug hits the brain with big whallop 8 seconds after inhaling the first puff on a cigarette.

village idiot on December 16, 2014 at 1:15 PM

Why does anyone care? Millions of people are addicted to having caffeine either from coffee or soft drinks. No real health effects so no one cares. Vaping has no known health effects so I see no difference.

I’m sick of the gov’t, i.e. other people telling me what I can put in my body and trying to discourage it through taxes. GF yourselves! And don’t give me the “it costs society” BS either. If it costs society, that is a failure of socialism. not my problem.

BierManVA on December 16, 2014 at 2:49 PM

Nicotine is physiologically addictive but it has minimal health effects and feels pleasant to the user.

If the addiction is harmless, who cares?

Why, nannies care, because… because… well, they think you SHOULDN’T,
so that’s why/ shut up.

Dolce Far Niente on December 16, 2014 at 2:51 PM

The fundamental reason that smokers smoke is nicotine drug addiction. While getting the drug by a delivery system other than smoking (injection, inhaling, patch, gum, etc) is probably less harmful than smoking tobacco, it is still nicotine drug addiction.

village idiot on December 16, 2014 at 1:15 PM

^^^Perfect example of nanny thinking;

WHY is the addiction to nicotine a problem, if it is delivered in a way that causes no bad health effects in the user?

What are you objecting to?

Dolce Far Niente on December 16, 2014 at 2:56 PM

While it is problematic that these kids are getting hooked on nicotine, at least they aren’t giving themselves lung cancer while they do it.
Count to 10 on December 16, 2014 at 2:07 PM

This is so new that the health risks are not fully known. Though nicotine, in and of itself, is a toxic poison. In fact it has been used as a murder weapon, e.g. –
Husband Who Poisoned Wife with Nicotine Gets Life in Prison

whatcat on December 16, 2014 at 3:15 PM

for a VERY small number of people nicotine helps with neuropathic pain from disc/spine injuries too.
why I use ecig a bit as the slight bit helps avoid more lyrica/gabapentin/other pain meds.
a real damned if you/don’t situation.

dmacleo on December 16, 2014 at 3:16 PM

Though nicotine, in and of itself, is a toxic poison. In fact it has been used as a murder weapon, e.g. –
Husband Who Poisoned Wife with Nicotine Gets Life in Prison

whatcat on December 16, 2014 at 3:15 PM

Weak sauce. Plenty of substances are deadly in large doses, for example water.

Dolce Far Niente on December 16, 2014 at 3:21 PM

Plenty of substances are deadly in large doses, for example water.
Dolce Far Niente on December 16, 2014 at 3:21 PM

If water were, in and of itself, a deadly poison you might have a point.

whatcat on December 16, 2014 at 3:26 PM

village idiot on December 16, 2014 at 1:15 PM

Well, I think you’re selling yourself short. With this post, you should change your name to Idiot of the Universe.

ZeusGoose on December 16, 2014 at 3:27 PM

(As a bit of disclosure about the bad old days, the only Christmas present my dad gave me when I was sixteen was a carton of Marlboros. But that’s a story for another day.)

Must have been a banner year for the Bender Shaw family. Smoke up Jazzy.

Flange on December 16, 2014 at 12:45 PM

LOL – Can’t think of certain scenes from that movie without chuckling.

Marcola on December 16, 2014 at 3:33 PM

If water were, in and of itself, a deadly poison you might have a point.

whatcat on December 16, 2014 at 3:26 PM

Hey, Whatapussy,

Nicotine is not, in of itself, a deadly poison, either when not administered at a deadly proportion. Kind of like drinking a glass of water versus drowning. But water (in its deionized form) is known to be the most corrosive composition in the universe. Given enough time, it will eat away at everything known to mankind.

ZeusGoose on December 16, 2014 at 3:39 PM

Nicotine is not, in of itself, a deadly poison
ZeusGoose on December 16, 2014 at 3:39 PM

You’ll really have to explain your novel theory to chemists; they got an insane notion that you can live without nicotine, but you won’t last long without water.
Good luck with that.

whatcat on December 16, 2014 at 4:26 PM

whatcat on December 16, 2014 at 4:26 PM

Just give it up. You are nanny-ing yourself into an impossible position.

Just admit you don’t want anyone to enjoy nicotine in any form. You need not make silly claims about POISON!!111!! to bolster a personal bias which you cannot validate.

Dolce Far Niente on December 16, 2014 at 6:01 PM

Though nicotine, in and of itself, is a toxic poison. In fact it has been used as a murder weapon…

whatcat on December 16, 2014 at 3:15 PM

So has arsenic: yet, without a trace of arsenic in your body, you would die.

The DOSE makes the poison!!!

The anti-nicotine hysteria is no more valid than the anti-lead hysteria and the anti-every-effective-pest-control hysteria of the ignorant extreme leftists.

landlines on December 16, 2014 at 6:02 PM

Unless those teens are smoking nicotine-free vapor, about all that’s changed is their habit makes less of a mess and does slightly less physical harm.

LawfulGood on December 16, 2014 at 6:04 PM

You’ll really have to explain your novel theory to chemists; they got an insane notion that you can live without nicotine, but you won’t last long without water.
Good luck with that.

whatcat on December 16, 2014 at 4:26 PM

Actually, nicotine is chemically similar to certain neurotransmitters that your body makes naturally. Tis true, as so many have pointed out, that the dose makes the poison. And one would think that with the “more than 7000 chemicals” in smoking that the anti-smoking nazis mention to justify making cigarettes unfashionable, they would appreciate a method of nicotine consumption that takes virtually all of those chemicals out in favor of the least poisonous one.

gryphon202 on December 16, 2014 at 6:38 PM

Unless those teens are smoking nicotine-free vapor, about all that’s changed is their habit makes less of a mess and does slightly less physical harm.

LawfulGood on December 16, 2014 at 6:04 PM

Quite a bit less physical harm if you accept the premise that tobacco smoke contains “over 7000 chemicals.”

gryphon202 on December 16, 2014 at 6:39 PM

The argument against e-cigs simple proves that the fight against tobacco is more about controlling what people do, then it is about their health.

oscarwilde on December 16, 2014 at 12:45 PM

That and the fact that liberals in general can’t stand to see anyone doing something they enjoy with little to no guilt or negative personal impact.

That is unless they can make a buck off it.

Oxymoron on December 16, 2014 at 6:50 PM

WHY is the addiction to nicotine a problem, if it is delivered in a way that causes no bad health effects in the user?

By definition, an addiction is a compulsive behavior to keep doing the activity, regardless of the immediate or long-term consequences, and therefore it’s a dysfunction .

Anyway, a little-known point that doctors are arguing is to legalize e-cigs but regulate them as drug delivery devices and smoking cessation devices, and just ban “regular” tobacco. I agree on this.

DevilishSoda on December 16, 2014 at 7:28 PM

Just give it up. You are nanny-ing yourself into an impossible position.

Yes, facts can sometimes seem to be impossible and even downright stubborn things. But being emotionally upset by a fact doesn’t change it; nicotine is a poison no matter your feelings about the fact. If you’re uninformed of this fact, then LMGFY. See? It’s not that difficult to become educated in the internet age.

Just admit you don’t want anyone to enjoy nicotine in any form. You need not make silly claims about POISON!!111!! to bolster a personal bias which you cannot validate.
Dolce Far Niente on December 16, 2014 at 6:01 PM

Hate to pour cold water on your stompy feet thing, laddie, but I’ve likely been smoking more years than you’ve been alive (and not the hipster-sissy “vaping” stuff). I’m just not one to try to lie to myself in an attempt to make me feel better. Whistling through graveyards doesn’t make a person any safer.
I just accept the fact that nicotine is a poison. To coin a phrase; it is what it is. If that fact enrages you then it’s your problem, not mine.

whatcat on December 16, 2014 at 8:22 PM

To answer the question from a number of people here:

I don’t really give a flying flip if someone want to become a nicotine junkie. It’s up to them.

I became an addict by age 14 and was a nicotine junkie for more than 38 years. It’s a horrible way to live, controlled by the drug all day every day. Waking up every morning in drug withdrawal. But, fortunately, I don’t have to worry about that now.

Nicotine is a poison. Sold as an insecticide in many countries, although not in the US anymore. The reason tobacco leaves evolved to contain nicotine is that kills aphids.

http://pmep.cce.cornell.edu/profiles/insect-mite/mevinphos-propargite/nicotine/insect-prof-nicotine.html

It is a fatally toxic poison in high doses. It stopped being sold as an insecticide in the US, in part, because of the high rate of absorption through skin exposure (see the nicotine patch!). Nicotine poisoning is not unheard of. People often experience it using too high a patch dose. Or from animals/children eating cigarettes. It’s a potential risk for people who fill their own e-cig cartdiges.

The addiction comes from a quirk of fate: the molecular structure of the nicotine molecule binds perfectly to a set of brain receptors that trigger a dopamine release (nature’s reward behavior reinforcement mechanism). Same type of receptors and dopamine response as cocaine and heroin. Nicotine brain chemistry and addiction is one of the most studied, well-understood drug addictions in science. The thing that makes it so troublesome is that nicotine hijacks the brain receptors responsible for giving us the dopamine reward for finishing a good meal, being warm, etc. The nicotine overwhelms these receptors forcing them to down-regulate and blocking normal stuff from giving us the dopamine release. A nicotine junkie needs the nicotine to get the small pleasures normal people get from day to day life. Because this dopamine mechanism is the learned behavior reward center, nicotine junkies over time learn to associate the use of the drug with EVERYTHING they do in their lives. This learned behavior makes kicking the addiction really, really hard — even though the actual physical withdrawal from the drug is not usually horrible.

Since there is no benefit to nicotine and since the addiction is such a ball n’ chain, my recommendation would be to never play russian roulette with it. Just don’t use nicotine. It’s a horrible way to live.

But, if somebody wants to be a junkie, that’s fine. It doesn’t really bother me. The only “nanny state” effort I would support would be to get all nicotine products out of convenience stores where it is marketed to kids — cigarettes, nicotine gum, e cigs. Put it all in drug stores or liquor stores. If you are going to tax nicotine, tax all of it equally so you don’t have a situation where the government is pushing one form of nicotine drug addiction over another. I wouldn’t ban any of it. The addiction is too strong; you’ll just create a massive black market. Check the price of a cigarette in prisons….

village idiot on December 16, 2014 at 11:20 PM

I wouldn’t ban any of it.The addiction is too strong; you’ll just create a massive black market.

A ban on cigarettes would work if it was a gradual, effective one. Organizations would first have to do a massive, effective campaign to provide easy and low-cost ways to quit smoking. This would have to go on for years, and they’d have to be aggressive in anti-smoking campaigns. Before the cigarette ban, the FDA would have to classify and regulate e-cigs as smoking cessation devices. Ideally, pharmacies/drugstores would offer free smoking cessation devices like they do with vaccines. Then, and only then, you can ban cigarettes/tobacco.

Of course, there will always be nicotine addicts, but by banning cigarettes/tobacco it will significantly reduce medical costs b/c of cancers and heart disease. But at a minimum, the nicotine addicts would be using e-cigs/pure nicotine instead of tobacco.

DevilishSoda on December 17, 2014 at 12:25 AM

Before the cigarette ban, the FDA would have to classify and regulate e-cigs as smoking cessation devices. Ideally, pharmacies/drugstores would offer free smoking cessation devices like they do with vaccines. Then, and only then, you can ban cigarettes/tobacco.

The silly notion that “nicotine replacement therapy” is an effective way to quit smoking has done damage to smoking cessation efforts. The quitting rates plummeted almost immediately when nicotine gum hit the market and the government bureaucrats told smokers to not even try to quit the way that is still the method that has worked for more than 90% of all ex-smokers.

Like most things, government do-gooders just screwed it up. Virtually all government dollars now go to buying patches and gum from pharm for free distribution. It’s an insanely expensive waste — to provide free nicotine replacement to 100 people to get 5 ex-smokers. The drug companies love it, though…

It’s sheer folly to think that you can cure a drug addiction by continuing to use the drug in different delivery form. It’s like trying to cure alcoholism by switching from beer to vodka or heroin addiction by switching to morphine. The problem is the drug addiction.

village idiot on December 17, 2014 at 2:09 AM

My personal objection to the promotion of e-cigs is that it’s just another way to turn the attention away from the fundamental underlying issue: nicotine drug addiction. In my opinion, honesty is the most effective approach. Call a junkie a junkie.

When I see people smoking (or vaping or using nicotine gum), I picture them with a syringe in their arm getting the fix they need. It’s a horrible way to live. I feel sorry for them and I wish they could experience the freedom of escaping the trap.

village idiot on December 17, 2014 at 2:14 AM

The silly notion that “nicotine replacement therapy” is an effective way to quit smoking has done damage to smoking cessation efforts. The quitting rates plummeted almost immediately when nicotine gum hit the market and the government bureaucrats told smokers to not even try to quit the way that is still the method that has worked for more than 90% of all ex-smokers.

That’s because people weren’t following directions. Nicotine replacement therapy is effective if one follows directions. It’s a well-known fact that with many drugs, only a small percentage can quit cold turkey–one must develop a habit to quit and doing it gradually is the best way.

It’s far better off to have nicotine addicts getting the pure, standardized nicotine than having them smoke tobacco, which exposes them to far more carcinogens and therefore overburden the medical system.

DevilishSoda on December 17, 2014 at 3:25 PM