Monday, December 22, 2014

High School Seniors’ Post Largest Ever Single-Year Decline in Smoking; E-Cigs May Have Played a Role

The Monitoring the Future survey shows that past 30-day cigarette use among 12th graders dropped from 16.3% in 2013, to 13.6% in 2014, the largest single-year decline in the survey's 39-year history (data here). 

The data show that 17% of 12th graders had used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days in 2014, the first year this information was collected.

Good news included a decline in the percentages of high school seniors reporting alcohol use, being drunk and marijuana use in the past 30 days.

Instead of focusing on the historic drop in smoking, the media emphasized that more students had used e-cigarettes than traditional cigarettes.  However, Tim Worstall, a Fellow at the Adam Smith Institute in London, saw things differently, writing, “That vaping, at least so far as we know, is the most successful smoking cessation product any one has as yet invented (and do note that nothing else at all has halved teen [daily] smoking rates in only 5 years) means that we really shouldn’t be putting roadblocks in front of further adoption of the technology.” (here)   

Smoking prevalence among high school seniors has declined every year since 2007, about the time that e-cigarettes were introduced in the U.S.  With numbers like this, claims that e-cigarettes cause children to smoke are completely unfounded.  In fact, the evidence is strongly suggestive that e-cigarettes have played a role in this unprecedented decline in teen smoking.

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