Side Note

As overall teen tobacco use declines, the proportion of vaping teens rises

When I was 16, my friend’s older brother would occasionally buy my friends and I some super-gross cigars from a gas station out in the country, which we’d then smoke outside of an abandoned barn. It was terrible, and I deeply regret doing it, but it was also the most rebellious thing I was willing to do because I was a teenage coward. If I were a teen outside of that abandoned barn today, would my friends and I be vaping? In all likelihood, yes.

A new report from the Center for Disease Control has furthered our understanding of a subject we all knew too well — the dang teens love to dang vape. What's interesting, though, is that the CDC’s results show that the percentage of teens who use tobacco products on the whole has decreased over the past few years, but that this decline has been the result of fewer teens smoking and using chewing tobacco. Guess what the teens still love to do? The question is rhetorical, but the answer is “vape.”

About 20 percent of teens surveyed by the CDC in 2017 reported being regular users of tobacco products; of that twenty percent, over half claimed e-cigarettes were their nicotine delivery system of choice. If we accept the CDC’s estimate that 2.95 million teens are beholden to the demon nicotine, that means that a million and a half of them are vaping.

Given that approximately five percent of all online content is in some way related to vaping, I’m just as in favor of it as much as the next blogger, but I kinda feel like the only reason people should get into vaping is if they’re addicted to cigarettes and want to switch to something less overtly carcinogenic? Maybe these survey results show that vaping is an exit ramp for tobacco addiction in teens as well as adults, but then again, teens love technology almost as much as they love doing shit that’s mildly bad for them, so probably not.

Seriously though, if you’re a teenage reader of The Outline, please only put air in your lungs.