We are being told there is a teen vaping epidemic, yet we are not being shown the data.

This week there are headlines of Gottleib ‘mulling over’ the idea of banning online e cigarette sales due to this teen epidemic, but still we don’t have the cold, hard data to prove there is one. What we do have this week, are several scientists looking at the data that is available and questioning the use of the term ‘epidemic’.  

Dr. Farsalinos, in a recent interview discussed the alleged teen vaping epidemic and he was careful with his words.  Stating that he hadn’t seen the data the FDA are referring to, he said the following:  “The proportion of never-smoking adolescents in the U.S. who are ever using e-cigarettes is 0.2%.  The proportion of never-smoking adolescents in the U.S. who are regularly using e-cigarettes is 0.3%.” 

“In my opinion, these numbers do not justify the term epidemic”

 (Regular use of e cigarettes is considered vaping 20 days out of the past 30 days. Ever use can be a s little as one puff.)

 CASAA bring their opinion to the debate, and they are outright questioning the validity of this newly quoted, but as yet unseen data.

They write,

“It’s especially curious given that the public data from the annual National Youth Tobacco Surveys (NYTS), 2011 – 2017, clearly shows that youth use of vapor products, cigarettes, and tobacco products as a whole is declining since a peak in 2015.

“The CDC data shows that high school youth use of all tobacco products, including vapor products, dropped 22.5% from 25.3% in 2015 to 19.6% in 2017, and high school youth vaping dropped 26.8% from 16% to 11.7% during the same time period.

“Similarly, middle school youth use of all tobacco products and vapor products dropped 24.3% and 37.7% respectively. If, as Dr. Gottlieb suggests, there is a 75% increase in youth use of vapor products then the real question is: Has there been a similar rise in other tobacco product use? With the track record of CDC and FDA spinning statistics to hide the decline in smoking behind the rise in vaping, we are skeptical of such a pronouncement – especially when it is made without the data to back it up.”

We have written about the way the vaping data is collected before What are the measurements being used by the FDA in this unseen data – and are the FDA using the ever puff, once, to count a teen being a vaper? Are they including over half of all teens that vape, but do not use nicotine? And did the vaping start before, or after the smoking?

We need total transparency when this new data is released.

Brad Rodu,  Professor of Medicine at the University of Louisville also chimes in. He holds an endowed chair in tobacco harm reduction research and is a member of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center at U of L, and  brings his extensive experience to the table. He writes – “Dr. Gottlieb said he used “the word epidemic with great care,” but his statement that teen e-cigarette use is “almost ubiquitous” is simply wrong.  The chart below based on University of Michigan Monitoring the Future data, shows that e-cigarette use among high school seniors is only marginally higher than cigarette use, which has been declining for decades.  E-cigarette use pales in comparison with marijuana and alcohol, which are far more dangerous.”


The chart taken from Brad Rodu’s website: rodutobaccotruth.blogspt.com

Then, to round off this weeks’ news,  we have the release of a study that looks at the way e-cigarettes are reported in the news.

No prizes for guessing what one of the most frequently mentioned topics – yes -  the rise in teen vaping, coming in at a whopping 45.4% of coverage.  

[kk1]Link to last week’s blog