"Won't somebody think of the children" apparently is a line that still works for boilerplate rhetoric in 2019. The House Committee on Oversight and Reform held two days of hearings last week on JUUL’s Role in on the supposed youth nicotine epidemic. This of course was not a discussion of what really threatens American teens, but rather a way for congress to virtue signal to the world they care deeply about the youth.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, you'd see the data that the high school vaping rate is lower than that for marijuana and alcohol use. If you know teenagers, or remember being one, teenage activities don’t typically occur in at random in a vacuum. High school students frequently drive after marijuana use, ride with someone who has already been drinking, use their phones while driving, have sexual intercourse, consider suicide, you know the whole gamut of risky youthful behavior.
In spite of these traditionally perturbing activities, the tobacco prohibitionists known as Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids have wholly convinced Congress, school boards, parents, and the media at large that vaping eLiquids have created a public health emergency. Our late not so great FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and other government officials have stoked this anxiety by referring to the rise in teen vaping as an epidemic.
This ongoing spate of hysteria stems from the CDC’s National Youth Tobacco Survey, which unfortunately federal officials refer to as the gold standard of information about teen vaping. However everyone has been using these numbers without any proper context.
We frequently hear that 3 million high school students in 2018 responded to the survey as current vapers. If you actually look at the the way the question was asked, 3 million teens had used a vape at least once in the past 30 days. Plus 600,000 of those high school vapers were 18 or older, making them of legal purchasing age in most areas when the survey was conducted. Of those remaining 2.5 million underage vapers, about 1.7 million had also smoked a cigarette, cigar and/or had used smokeless tobacco, according to the exact same survey.
Of the 807,000 underage vapers with no history of any other tobacco use, 70% of them had used a vape only one to five days during the month, which is why the phrasing of the question is so tricky, because that's the equivalent of trying a vape once at a party. Only 95,000 students had vaped eLiquids 20 to 30 days representing just 0.6 percent of the nation’s nearly 15 million high school students which is a light year away from the general vape hysteria, making Gottlieb's statement “hooking an entire generation of children on tobacco and nicotine” a huge load of nonsense.
In addition to obviously faulty data, the House hearing echoed the government’s false hyperbolic narrative blaming teen vaping on illegal retail sales and so called kid friendly marketing. Yet the FDA’s own research shows that more than 90% of teens who use vapes obtain them from social sources, such as friends or family. Only 10% of current teen vapers buy their own, and of course to do that they are of legal purchasing age.
Lawmakers also echoed the false narrative about nicotine, utilizing fear to hold up their moral high horsing. Referencing the Surgeon General’s claim that nicotine is “very and uniquely harmful” to the developing brain, and that vaping can impair learning and memory in those up to age 25, despite no scientific evidence to support this claim.
The reality is that nicotine is about as safe to use as caffeine, but it doesn’t cause any of the many cancers, heart attacks, strokes, emphysema, or any other inverse health effects that come from the toxins released from smoking tobacco.
Congress of course wants you the unwitting public to believe that teen vaping will lead to a sudden surge in young adult smoking, which makes you question their motives from the ground up. If banning vaping will lead to smoking, why are they in favor of it? The reality of teen vaping is just the opposite, because cigarette smoking dropped in half among young adults between 2014 and 2018.
While vaping increased, use of both products fell during the exact same period. Vaping is helping to eliminate smoking among young Americans, which in turn will help eliminate smoking from the planet in the long run.
What do you think about the recent performance of congress? Are they pushing the very same hysterical fake narrative about vaping they are also listening to? Will there ever be a time where people turn to themselves to figure out how to solve problems rather than seeking the aid of the government to solve everything?