Teenagers Smoking

A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has revealed that smoking among high school students dropped to its lowest level for nearly a quarter of a century last year. The National Youth Risk Behavior Survey in the US has been conducted since 1991, when 27.5% of high school students were found to smoke cigarettes. This increased steadily throughout the first few years of the survey, reaching a peak of 36.4% – over a third of students – in 1997. However, apart from one blip in 2005, the percentage has dropped steadily since then.

The percentage was 15.7% in 2013, and by the time the study took place in 2015, the figure had dropped sharply to just 10.8%.

Does vaping have something to do with this?

It seems that e-cigarettes may have influenced these findings - the most recent study included questions about vaping for the first time, and the answers were telling. According to the results, 24% of high school students confirmed they’d used e-cigs in the past month.

However, the ‘last 30 days’ question doesn’t give room to indicate whether those who answered yes had only tried vaping once, or whether they vaped every single day. As such, it only indicates the overall presence of vaping in high schools in America.

Laws prevent easy vaping among the young

Federal laws have been introduced to make sure minors cannot easily get hold of electronic cigarettes legally any more. State laws have also been changed in some areas, making it tougher for students and other young people to get access to these products.

While it is very early days for these laws, it does make you wonder whether the incidence of smoking in high school students could go back on the rise if vaping is demonised and made very difficult to do. Time and time again, it has been found that vaping is safer than smoking. There is little evidence to suggest kids who try vaping then move on to smoke instead. In reality, it is much more likely to be the other way around.

Suffice to say, we await the next study in 2017 with great interest. Will the figures for smoking among high school students be lower still – and will this be due to the fact they can vape instead? What are your thoughts? Should vaping be banned for minors?