More Proof That Flavors Aren’t the Reason Why Teens Vape
Mitt Romney offered unicorn faeces as a reason for the rise in teen vaping during a discussion with Donald Trump about the pandemic in November.
In a rare moment of civilised discourse, Trump invited both critics and proponents of e-cigarettes to the event, as if he genuinely wanted to learn more about the topic. He’d been debating what to do for weeks, even considering a full-fledged ban on flavoured vaping goods, though his campaign staff apparently persuaded him out of it, fearing that such a move would alienate a significant portion of his electoral support. Many of the guests advocated for ban, an approach that other states and cities, including San Francisco and New York City, had already taken (or sought to adopt), highlighting the same point: that flavours, even unicorn faeces, are to blame for hooking youngsters all this time. It’s been a recurring theme for them.
However, new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released last week suggests that this is not the case. Or, at the very least, it isn’t the whole tale. The data, which came from the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS), suggest a different explanation: being young and a little bit careless. This has ramifications in the wake of a slew of nationwide vape bans, which have frequently been portrayed by lawmakers as a means of protecting children.
When asked why they had ever tried an e-cigarette,
55 percent of students said it was because they were curious. The second-most frequent reason, at 30.8 percent, was that “a friend or family member used them,” and the third, at 22.4 percent, was because “they are available in flavours such as mint, candy, fruit, or chocolate.” Surprisingly, there was no express option for wanting the nicotine rush—the addicting head high that longterm smokers have been chasing for centuries (or, in the more appropriate vernacular of our times: getting domed.) Among the categories listed, “doing stunts” was not far behind tastes.
Are you a current or former JUUL employee, or do you know anything we should know about the firm, the vaping industry, or marijuana policy? Much of the focus in the media has been on the sheer numbers—specifically, that “roughly one in three high school kids has acknowledged using a tobacco product recently,” as the New York Times put it. But, as vaping campaigners and public-health advisors in the United Kingdom have already pointed out, the idea that flavours aren’t the only thing pushing youngsters to explore is missing from the discourse.
While anti-tobacco crusaders like Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg have called for taste bans, adult vapers have had the opposite experience: They’ve claimed that e-cigarettes are a harm-reduction tool and a healthier alternative to smoking for a long time. More crucially, they have claimed that it is the flavors—the ability to separate a nicotine rush from the taste of tobacco—that has aided them in switching to vaping from lethal combustible cigarettes. Prohibition-style techniques, they believe, risk undermining this apparent success—and, as experts on the war on drugs have pointed out, might support a potentially hazardous illegal market.
As part of the country’s push to go smoke-free by 2025, the New Zealand government announced that all sales of cigarettes would be prohibited for future generations.The restriction, which was announced on Thursday, means that anyone under the age of 14 will never be allowed to legally purchase tobacco in the United States.”This one’s for all the people I’ve cared for who have been killed or maimed by tobacco,” Ayesha Verrall, New Zealand’s associate minister of health, said on her personal Twitter account.In New Zealand, smoking is still the largest cause of preventable death. It causes one out of every four malignancies and accounts for 4,000 to 5,000 early deaths each year.
New Zealand’s health experts anticipate that recent crackdowns will fully abolish smoking in the country, making it the world’s first smoke-free country.Along with the prohibition, Verrall noted that support measures will be implemented to help people who are trying to quit smoking.
The government will also decrease the number of stores selling smoked tobacco and lower the permissible nicotine levels in it.
Adult smoking rates have decreased from 18 percent in 2006 to 11.6 percent by 2020, according to government data. However, smoking is significantly more prevalent among New Zealand’s Mori and Pasifika populations—28.7% and 18.3%, respectively—which is why the prohibition is so important, according to Verrall.
“While smoking rates are decreasing, we must do more and do it faster to achieve our goal.” “If nothing changes, it would take decades for Mori smoking rates to drop below 5%, and this government is not willing to abandon people,” she said.However, a ban on vaping, which is two to three times more common in New Zealand than smoking, is not included in this most current legislation.According to a 2019 study, 10% of students polled vape on a regular basis, or at least once a month. Before vaping, more than 49% of these kids were nonsmokers.Though some health professionals have praised the government’s new regulations, Karen Chhour, a spokesperson for the opposition right-wing ACT party in New Zealand, has branded the moves “poor policymaking.””The government’s progressive ban on all tobacco sales is prohibition plain and simple,” she said in a statement.In 2022, a new law will be enacted to execute the ban, giving businesses time to shift to a new business model.