Wednesday, February 8, 2023

U.S. & UK Vaping Rates Similar Among Youth & Young Adults


I have previously commented on the so-called American teen vaping “epidemic”.  Using federal data, I have shown how the CDC and the FDA exaggerate the magnitude of vaping, portraying a fake crisis (here, here, here, here, here, here and here).  This post compares the prevalence of vaping among young people in the United States and the UK.  In the latter country, e-cigarettes have been welcomed and endorsed by the public health establishment as effective quit-smoking, life-saving aids, and there has been a noticeable absence of the U.S.-style crisis scaremongering.

The chart on the left shows the prevalence of vaping in the U.S. and UK among youth and young adults age 16 to 24 years from 2014 to 2019, and 18-24 years in 2020.  Note that prevalence was the same in both countries in 2014, and was higher in the UK over the next three years.  Prevalence spiked in the U.S. in 2018 and 2019, but by 2020 both countries had similar rates. 

The data for the two countries are fairly similar, the biggest difference being how American and British authorities, and the media, have responded.  British authorities have consistently spoken the truth about vaping since 2011 (here, here, here, here and here), and today Britain’s Department of Health helps smokers switch from combustibles to vapor.  Their American counterparts, however, have been on a crusade to eliminate these vastly safer cigarette substitutes, even falsely suggesting that nicotine in e-cigarettes will cause irreversible brain damage in children. Tobacco prohibitionists appear to be ignorant of the fact that their warnings and advertisements might actually spark the “epidemic”.



Notes on the chart’s numbers.  The British annual rates are averaged from four quarterly surveys from the Smoking Toolkit Study (here), which set the age ranges; current vapers were using e-cigarettes at the time of the surveys.  The American rates are a weighted combination of data from National Youth Tobacco Surveys (16-17 year olds) and the National Health Interview Surveys (18-24 year olds).  Current vaping in the former was 20-30 days in the past month; and every day or some days in the latter.   


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