Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Astounding Smoking & Vaping Statistics in New CDC Data


The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) just released the full data set from the 2022 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). Earlier, the agency published “Early Release of Selected Estimates Based on Data From the 2022 National Health Interview Survey,” a document that reflected the CDC’s propensity to cherry-pick data in order to portray all forms of tobacco as deadly and evil.

The chart at left shows the prevalence of smoking and vaping among American adults over the years the survey collected information on vaping -- 2014 to 2022.  Note that the smoking rate, denoted by the black and gray columns, started out at 16.8% and has since declined to 11.6%, for a drop of about 31%.  During that time, the vaping rate increased from 3.7% in 2014, to 6% last year.  One of the more noticeable trends is the increase in vapers who are former smokers, which I will examine in my next blog.

Now let’s look at the same statistics, but only for Americans age 18 to 24 years.  The smoking rate in 2014 was 16.6%, almost identical to that among all Americans, but then something extraordinary happened.  Smoking dropped a whopping 71%, to just 4.8% in 2022, while vaping increased substantially. 


The young adult numbers sync with those I’ve reported from the National Youth Tobacco Survey (here).  In short, smoking is a vanishing habit among teens and young adults in America.

Instead of celebrating this as a public health victory, anti-tobacco crusaders continue to denounce a nonexistent vaping crisis.  They decry another generation enslaved by nicotine, but ignore the millions of Americans who daily consume caffeine, which is also addictive and benign.  

While tobacco prohibitionists are, ironically, threatened by the fading of smoking, I have spent an entire career at major academic medical centers watching inveterate smokers pay a life-shortening price for being unable to quit the crusaders’ way, i.e., going nicotine-free.  Thankfully, today’s generation of smoke-free youth and young adults will enjoy a future devoid of the ravages of smoking, even as they continue to consume smoke-free tobacco products.


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