Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Complicated Models Can’t Alter the Data - Part 2: Youth Smoking Is Way Down

As reported here last week, University of California San Francisco researchers Lauren Dutra and Stanton Glantz tortured data from the National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) to support a purported “lack of a demonstrable acceleration in the long-term rate of decline” in youth smoking after 2009.  This was despite the fact the survey data showed that smoking among high school students declined from almost 16% in 2011 to 9% in 2014 – a reduction of 43% in just three years (here). 

The “untortured” NYTS findings can be confirmed by charting data from another federal survey: the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), which I have used for smoking research for many years (discussed here).

Once again, I used 2010 as the anchor year for equal intervals before widespread e-cigarette use (2006-2010) and after (2010-2014, the latest year for public access of NSDUH data).  I tallied smoking rates among boys and girls age 14-18 years, which is comparable to high school students in the NYTS.  The definition of a current smoker is also the same in the two surveys: anyone who smoked on at least one day in the past 30.

The accompanying chart clearly illustrates that smoking declined among boys (-13%) and girls (-20%) from 2006 to 2010.  However, during the next four years, the rate of decline doubled – to   -31% for boys and -41% for girls.

Findings from both federal surveys are consistent: The decline in smoking among high school students accelerated as demonstrably safer (here) e-cigarette use increases. 

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