As parents, we often times worry about our kids. Whether it be where they are going, what time they are coming home, or who they are going out with – our kids are always on our minds. However, one of the more recent parental fears that is still very alive today is if our kids are using electronic cigarettes.
Anti-vapour people are using scare tactics in the media about how kids could (and will) start using e cigarettes. Furthermore, self-proclaimed specialists have also had their say regarding the dangers e cigarettes pose to our youth. In fact, this is nothing new. It has been ongoing for quite some time now. The basic argument goes like this: teens can just go into any convenience store and buy any disposable e cigarette. Forget actual tobacco cigarettes. Yes – we are really talking about e cigarettes (we cannot believe it either)! Apparently, e cigarettes are now being reported by these very people as the “in thing” to do for kids, especially with all of the e cigarette advertising going on. So, where is the proof in all of this? Well, let’s take a closer look into this:
Youth Smoking Rates
Unlike the anti-vapour community, we will back up our side of the debate with pure facts and statistics. ASH (Action on Smoking and Health), which is headquartered right here in the UK, is a public health charity that “works to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco.” They surveyed over 4,000 youth between the ages of 11 and 18 about their smoking and vaping behaviour. For starters, 91% of the youth had never even tried an electric cigarette! What’s more – only 1.8% of the youth are regular users. However, we need to look into this data. Why? Because 90% of these 1.8% regular users are currently smokers or ex-smokers. And while youth e-cig use has increased year over year, ASH says that it is closely linked with smoking behaviour; meaning – youth who currently smoke are likely to try e-cigs and that is the cause of the slight increase.
As it turns out, electronic cigarette brands are legally required to verify the age of their customers via the ‘We Card’ program. When you visit an e cigarette provider’s website, the very first thing you are required to do is verify that you are at least 18 years of age. The burden of proof also falls on the customer during the checkout process. Even if the customer wants to purchase an e-cig in a store, they need to show valid identification.
E-cigs as the “In Thing” for Youth
As we can see by the data above, kids are not just picking up e-cigarettes randomly. If they do happen to try e-cigs, then it is because they are currently smokers or ex-smokers trying to kick the habit of tobacco cigarettes. Thus, electronic cigarettes are not considered the “in thing” for youth. Otherwise, we would see more than a handful of teens picking up the “habit” of e-cigs. Unfortunately, it seems the youth are still trying to get their hands on tobacco cigarettes. THIS is where the anti-vapour community’s efforts should go. We know that real cigarettes kill. Let’s deal with a proven murderer first before we accuse an unproven defendant.