Tag: teenage nicotine use

Teen Smoking is Way Down…Because Vaping is Way Up

Why Do Teens Love Vapes?

Vaping has, over the past five years, exploded from a geeky subculture to a lucrative, multi-billion dollar business. Along the way, it’s picked up celebrity endorsements (Jenny McCarthy as the face of Blu E-Cigs), mainstream approval (anti-tobacco groups are, generally speaking, vocal supporters), and millions of devotees worldwide.

why are teens vaping
vape via Wikimedia Commons

It’s also picked up more than a few teenage vapers. The New York Times recently published an article detailing the latest data on adolescent e-cig use. The numbers, broken down below, are either alarming or impressive depending on how you view the current “vape culture.”

The Times article, with its intimate quotes from high school students across the country, makes one thing clear – the use of e-cigs by adolescents is here to stay. This is no mere fad. Although there’s not a definitive reason for the sudden boom in teenage vaping, there are some factors that contribute to its popularity.

Things like customizable hardware, appealing flavors, smart marketing by e-cig supply companies, and the glossy sheen of still being new and forbidden, while supposedly being safer than traditional cigarettes, are all major reasons that teens are flocking to vape shops and sites.

Although the jury’s still out on the long-term effects of inhaling nicotine laced vapor, anything that keeps young people from smoking has to be good, right? I’m not 100% convinced. Still, the numbers below do speak volumes. Read on to find out how many teens are vaping!

5 common myths about vaping debunked!

New Statistics on Teen Vaping

All facts and statistics are taken from The New York Times.

  • Between 2013 and 2014, the use of e-cigs of all varieties tripled among middle school and high school students. In total, 13% of adolescents use them. That’s more than smoke cigarettes.

  • Approximately 25% of high school students, and 8% of middle school students, used tobacco of one type or another in 2014. Broken into raw numbers, that’s around four-and-a-half million people.

  • That number, four-and-a-half million, is up 400,000 from 2013. This is the first time there’s been an increase in years (although the increase does fall within researcher’s margin of error).

  • Between 2011 and 2014, rates of “traditional” high school smokers fell from 16% to 9%. This coincides with rising e-cig consumption, which suggests high school smokers are using vapes to quit smoking cigarettes.

  • Smoking cigarettes kills upwards of 480,000 people in America each year. A majority of scientists and researchers agree that, although many e-cig effects are still unknown, they’re most likely safer than cigarettes. This is due to the lack of tar and other potentially fatal chemicals.

  • In a very unscientific, though certainly telling, calculation, one of the teens interviewed by the Times estimated 70% of his friends vaped.


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    Is This Rise in Vaping Good or Bad?

    And here we reach the million-dollar, or, in the case of the vaping industry, billion dollar, question. Is it safe for adolescents to use e-cigs? Is it better than smoking traditional cigarettes? What, if any, are the repercussions of teenagers vaping?

    Well, the consensus seems to be that teenagers using vapes is a good thing…or at least the lesser of two evils. David B. Abrams, the Executive Director of the Schroeder Institute for Tobacco Research and Policy Studies, had the following to say, “They’re [e-cigs] not a gateway in, and they might be accelerating the gateway out [of traditional cigarette consumption]” (The New York Times).

    That’s one hopefully opinion. It turns out, however, that many others share the same thoughts. The very culture of vaping appears to be built on an entirely different foundation than that of smoking cigarettes. One of the teenagers the Times interviewed described vapers as people who liked the personalization their culture offers.

    Which makes sense! In a world increasingly besieged by technology of all kinds, it seems fitting that teenagers, among the most voracious consumers of tech, would use it to smoke. In fact, the same teenager who described the culture of vaping above, had the following to say,

    “E-cigarettes appeal less towards the stereotypical longhaired stoners, and more towards sweatshirt-blue-jeans Silicon Valley programmer…You can compare them to Apple computers” (The New York Times).

    If large numbers of adolescents are comparing vapes to Apple computers, well, it looks like vaping is here for the long haul.

    Is it normal to smoke in recovery? Find out & learn tips to quit today!

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