Is the Issue of Teen Vaping Overblown?

Among all of the constant concerns regarding public health policy and teen health issues, one of the latest topics to cause debate has to do with teen vaping. While school officials are causing a great deal of the uproar—primarily due to their inability to control vaping at school, one of the latest topics of debate has to with the “health concerns” over vaping.

While there are very few stats to support this idea that vaping can be dangerous, there are some impressive statistics about the impact that vaping is having on young smokers. For decades, teen tobacco use has been a major public health concern, and for understandable reasons. However, according to one study that looked at 12th graders across the country, only about 4.2 percent of high school seniors currently smoke cigarettes. That is a dramatic decrease from the numbers in 1997 which were an astonishing 24.6 percent.

In fact, more teens then ever are choosing to try vaping, over cigarettes. While this still may seem to be an “issue” to some, with so many other health issues plaguing teens today, is the issue of vaping overblown? The answer, according to research, may actually be “yes,” and here are a few of the reasons why.

First, the vapor produced by these devices is far less harmful than cigarette smoke. It contains fewer toxins and it isn’t as harmful second-hand. As for those who are concerned about the potential of vaping acting as a gateway drug, research shows that it does not entice young people to start taking up smoking. In fact, teens who vape are much less likely to start smoking cigarettes. In fact, many students who use vaping devices don’t even use it for the nicotine and only vape flavors. According to the aforementioned study, only 50 percent of high school students who admitted to using vaping devices even added nicotine—the others simply vaped for the flavor.

Researchers have actually found that vaping acts as a roadblock for young users and that teens who vape are less likely to start smoking. In fact, one study published by Public Health England found no connecting evidence between vaping with starting to smoke. This study looked at more than 60,000 students between the ages of 11-16.  Not to mention that teens still don’t make up that large of a demographic of vape-users, and schools around the country are admitting that they are dealing with minimal issues related to the so-called “vape epidemic” be touted by the media.

Simply said, while there may be some parents who prefer their teens don’t vape, there is still very little evidence to back up much of a real “problem” of teens today and their vape usage.

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