(A)Teenagers in the UK are less
likely to smoke cigarettes than previous
generations with the number falling to its lowest rate on record, according to
new figures. NHS Digital questioned more than
13,000 pupils aged 11 to 15 across nearly 200 schools in England about their smoking, drinking and drug habits for a biennial
poll. The figures showed that just 16 per cent of participants said they
had smoked a cigarette in their lifetime, down from 19 per cent in 2016 and 49
per cent in 1996. However, one quarter of pupils (25 per cent) admitted to
having used an e-cigarette at least once, the same
as in 2016. Researchers stated that pupils who had smoked cigarettes were
more likely to also have vaped than those who had not.
(B) Rosanna O’Connor, director of drugs, alcohol, tobacco and justice at Public Health England said the results prove that e-cigarettes are not causing more young people to smoke. “As you would expect, some young people experiment but regular vaping among those who have never smoked is very rare,” O’Connor said. “Youth smoking rates are continuing to decline at an encouraging rate.” Deborah Arnott, chief executive of the charity Action on Smoking and Health agreed, adding: “The proportion trying e-cigarettes has not increased and vaping remains largely concentrated among those who are already smokers. "This provides reassurance that our regulations are working and vaping has not become the ‘super-cool’ phenomenon among young people in England that it is said to be in the USA."
(C) This idea that vaping is more popular amongst youngsters in the USA, and that it is connected to overall smoking rates, is supported by research that suggests teens who use electronic cigarettes are more likely to start smoking regular cigarettes – and they are likely to use both products more often over time. The Rand Corporation study looked at more than 2,000 youths in California, starting when they were teenagers and continuing until they were young adults. The researchers found that youth who reported vaping were more likely to also report smoking cigarettes. When they were surveyed around age 17, more of the teens said they used e-cigarettes in the last month – 8% – than regular cigarettes, at 6%. By around age 19, 9% of the young adults surveyed were using e-cigarettes, but cigarette smoking had jumped to 12%. “Not only are adolescents who start vaping more likely to start smoking in the future, but they’re also likely to go on and use e-cigarettes and cigarettes more frequently,” said Michael Dunbar, the study’s lead author and a behavioural scientist at Rand. “Our work provides more evidence that young people who use e-cigarettes progress to smoking cigarettes in the future,” he said. “This study also suggests that teens don’t substitute vaping products for cigarettes. Instead, they go on to use both products more frequently as they get older.”
(D) The US Food and Drug Administration announced last month it would consider a ban on flavoured e-cigarettes in response to what it warned is an “epidemic” of young people using the devices and getting hooked on nicotine. “For young people, using these products may actually lead to more harm in the long run,” Dunbar said. “This highlights the importance of taking steps to prevent youth from vaping in the first place. One way to do this could be to limit e-cigarette and other tobacco advertising in kid-accessible spaces.” The agency issued 12 warning letters to companies they accused of using deceptive marketing labels on e-liquids, and is threatening to take flavoured products off the shelves if companies don’t do more to prevent teens from getting their hands on them.
(E) The study found that young people who vape e-cigarettes use them more over time. Of those who use the devices, 9% said they used one at least 20 days a month when they were surveyed as teens. By young adulthood, more than a quarter– 26% – were vaping 20 or more days a month. The same jump was seen for regular cigarettes. Among users, the proportion saying they smoked 20 days a month went up from 8% to 14%.The FDA says it will soon release data that shows a “substantial increase” in youth vaping this year compared with 2017.