Wednesday, March 11, 2020

High School Seniors Keep Drinking, Toking and Vaping, Especially Marijuana

The 2019 Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey results, released in December (here), confirm the sharp decline in high school cigarette smoking that I reported in my recent analysis of the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) (here).  The decline in smoking in both surveys coincides with increased vaping. 

The rates of current (in the past 30 days) use of various drugs among high school seniors are seen in the chart.  The MTF recently added vaping categories (labeled on the right) to those for conventional agents like cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana (labeled on the left). 

The rate of current smoking plummeted in 2019 to 5.7%, from 7.6% the year before, and 9.7% in 2017.  That represents an astounding 70% drop from 2011, when teens began vaping (evidence here).

The most important graph lines represent current use of intoxicating drugs, notably marijuana, which was used by 22.3% of high school seniors in 2019; it has tracked in this range since 1995.  They also still used alcohol – which was barely below 30% for the first time (29.3%) – and many still got drunk (17.5%) in the past month.

Current vaping of any or no drug increased in 2019 to 31%, reflecting use of nicotine (26%) and/or flavors alone (10.7%).  The MTF began analyzing JUUL use, finding that it was currently used by 20.8% of seniors. 

The big news in the MTF survey is the sharp increase in current marijuana vaping – 14%, or almost double the year before.  This finding underscores the inexplicable decision by NYTS administrators to omit the marijuana vaping question in the 2019 NYTS after using it in prior surveys.

The MTF provides context for the government’s obsession with flavor bans.  Flavors were vaped far less frequently than marijuana and nicotine.  The survey confirms that the main reason teens vape is to get a buzz; flavors are secondary.  The federal ban on flavors is therefore simply a feel-good measure that will have little impact.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Regulator Watch Videos: JAHA Retraction and the Teen Vaping “Epidemic”

Last week, Regulator Watch’s Brent Stafford interviewed me for an hour on the Journal of the American Heart Association’s retraction of a research article that claimed falsely that e-cigarettes cause heart attacks.  We also discussed the teen vaping “epidemic” and how the CDC calculates deaths from smoking (i.e. The Big Kill). 

RegWatch has posted two-minute videos that capture two of the interview’s main themes.  The retraction short video is here, and the teen “epidemic” video is here.