University of Michigan: Research shows teen smoking hits ‘historic lows’

Teen smoking rates are at “historic lows.” meanwhile, research shows 58% of “teen vapers” are vaping ZERO-NICOTINE E-LIQUID! Beware of misleading or Fake News.

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University of Michigan: Research shows teen smoking hits ‘historic lows’

The results of a new study conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan indicates that teen smoking rates in 2017 are plummeting at an alarming rate.  These statistics seem to contradict multiple published reports by public health organizations like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) claiming that vaping is a gateway to teen smoking.

In fact, the FDA is so concerned with teen vaping that it has recently announced the launching of a new federal probe into the perceived dangers of kid-appealing e-liquids allegedly designed to attract minors to vaping.  Vaping advocates disagree, claiming that poor parenting is a contributing factor to teen vaping and smoking.  Furthermore, kids are not the only ones who buy flavored e-liquids.  Adults like them too, which can be extremely beneficial in helping potentially millions of adult smokers quit.

This year’s Monitoring the Future (MTF) report shows a dramatic decrease in the number of high school students who currently smoke.  Less than 10 percent of high school seniors classify themselves as smokers, compared to over 36 percent during the peak levels of teen smoking in the mid-1990s.    

“Cigarette smoking by teens continued to decline in 2017. For the three grades combined, all measures (lifetime, 30-day, daily, and half-pack/day) are at historic lows since first measured in all three grades in 1991. Since the peak levels reached in the mid-1990s, lifetime prevalence has fallen by 71%, 30-day prevalence by 81%, daily prevalence by 86%, and current half-pack-a-day prevalence by 91%. The prevalence of smoking a half-pack-per-day in the 30 days before the survey now stands at just 0.2% for 8th graders, 0.7% for 10th graders, and 1.7% for 12th graders.”

Use of smokeless tobacco products by high schoolers is also on the decline.  The popularity of snus and other smokeless products has fallen by approximately two-thirds from 9.7 percent in 1992 to only 3.5 percent in 2017.  Even the smoking of flavored or “little cigars” is down modestly since the MTF researchers began tracking their usage.  In 2014, 5.4 percent of teens reported smoking these products within the last thirty days compared to only 3.7 percent in 2017.

Vaping research: Spinning the numbers

While vaping advocates often take issue with claims by the FDA that teen vaping is on the rise, the latest statistics from the 2017 MTF report seem to support this ideology.  While the number of teen vapers seems to be “similar in 2017 to their previous levels in 2016,” further data suggests that teens are not necessarily vaping nicotine-infused e-liquids.  In fact, the MTF report shows that about 58 percent pf vaping seniors are solely vaping zero-nicotine e-liquids.  Further data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also indicates that less than three percent of students are regular, daily vapers.  The others tend to only vape as little as one or two times per month.

Related Article: Did the CDC just confirm that vaping is not a gateway to teen smoking?

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VTA: Senate puts kibosh on ‘revised’ Cole-Bishop Amendment

Debate over the future of Cole-Bishop Amendment still uncertain, but vaping may have even bigger things to worry about.

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VTA: Senate puts kibosh on ‘revised’ Cole-Bishop Amendment

As reported last week, the House of Representatives’ Appropriation Committee approved a 2019 government spending bill in which a new version of the Cole-Bishop Amendment was included.  The original version was designed to provide the American vaping industry much-needed relief from the controversial FDA deeming regulations by revising the related 2007 predicate date.  The latest revision approved by the GOP-controlled House excludes vaping devices entirely while providing significant relief to certain business sectors of Big Tobacco. 

The news was initially greeted by vaping advocates with shock and awe, including the Vapor Technology Association (VTA).  However, many remained hopefully optimistic that the Senate would revise the bill a second time into a more pro-vaping document before being signed into law.  According to an email announcement by the VTA, the bill was indeed revised.  But instead of reinstating the amendment’s original language, the Senate led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell simply erased all references to the Cole-Bishop Amendment completely.  

“This week, no such language was included in the Chairman’s mark, nor offered as an amendment either at the Senate Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee (on Tuesday) or by the full Senate Appropriations Committee (yesterday).  The bill as marked up contains no language that would give relief to combustible tobacco products.  So, for now, we have prevented the House’s language from being included in the Senate bill.”

– As posted on May 25 by VTA’s Tony Abboud via TasteYourJuice.com

Related Article: The 2019 Cole-Bishop Amendment is bad news for vaping

This political recalculation theoretically means that the over-ten-years old predicate date will remain in place indefinitely for both tobacco and vaping manufacturers.   However, the predicate date may be the least of the vaping community’s worries.  In the House version of the Appropriates bill from earlier in May, mentions were made of the FDA considering a future regulation requiring biometric technology (retina-scanning and/or fingerprint reading) on all vaping devices to prevent underage use.  If biometrics requirements are enacted, then the predicate date issue becomes null and void instantaneous.    

What about the vaping flavor ban?

VTA is also reporting that lawmakers on Capitol Hill were also debating on whether to include legislative language in the Appropriates bill that would essentially implement a sort of flavor ban on kid-appealing e-liquids. According to the report, Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) was leading the charge but failed to gain majority support thanks to work down behind the scenes from advocacy groups like the VTA. 

“At the same time, our teams were working against an effort to add legislative language regarding flavors to the Senate bill.  Our efforts in this regard also were successful and the proponent, Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL), agreed not to offer any such amendment.  Instead, Sen. Durbin was able to get “report language” inserted to the Committee report.  Report language is not law, is not precedent and agencies, like the FDA, tend to treat this language as advisory. It is not in any way legally binding on any Agency or entity.”

A possible flavor ban may have been thwarted this time, but vapers are not out of the woods yet.  In late March, the FDA announced the launching of a new probe into the possible public health effects (especially regarding minors) reglating to flavored e-liquids.  The probe will end on June 19, 2018 – only 26-days from the publication date of this article. Vapers from all walks of life are encouraged to share personal stories and possible financial and/or health-related consequences should an FDA flavor ban be put into place.  The Federal Register provides easy-to-understand instructions for how vapers can respond to the FDA probe via written or electronic submissions.   

Related Article: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell fast-tracks bill to legalize hemp

 

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