New York is The Latest US State to Report a Drop in Teen Vaping

Proving what many tobacco harm reduction experts have been highlighting all along, in there is no such thing as a teen vaping epidemic, data from across the US keep indicating a drop in vaping rates among teens, as well as a drop in general tobacco use.   

A new report released by the state Department of Health, based on multiple studies, revealed that vaping and smoking rates are on the decline across the state. These data show once again that the fear-based theories claiming that there is an ongoing vaping epidemic among teens and that vaping is a gateway to subsequent smoking are just that.. theories.

The New York Youth Tobacco Survey found a sharp drop in smoking rates middle and high school students, from 27.1% in 2000 to an impressive 2.1% in 2022. While vaping rates dropped from 27.4% in 2018 to 18.7% in 2022, which equates to a 32% drop.

Another survey carried out by phone found that smoking rates among New York adults dropped from 14.1% to 12% between 2017 and

Similar patterns observed all across the US
Similarly, data released earlier this year from the 2021 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), had confirmed that smoking rates among Maryland’s youth have reached record lows and that vaping rates are on the decline aswell.

The state results for the 2021 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) were published by the Maryland Department of Health. In fact the survey found that in 2021, 3.6% of high schoolers and 1.3% of middle school students reported current combustible cigarette use. While among high school students, current combustible cigarette use is at its lowest level recorded, and rates have declined by 78.2% since 2011, when 12.5% of Maryland high schoolers were currently smoking. Among middle schoolers, rates have decreased by 66.7% from 3.9% of middle school students smoking in 2013.

The YRBS also found that use of other traditional tobacco products has also decreased and reached record lows. In fact, only 3.2% of high schoolers and 1.9% of middle schoolers reported current cigar use. Further, only 3% of high school and 1.4% of middle school students reported current smokeless tobacco use in 2021.

Vaping rates have been dropping since 2019
In line with other studies, the YRBS also found the contrary of an epidemic. While vaping rates among Maryland youth peaked in 2019 when 23% of high schoolers and 5.9% of middle schoolers were current users. These rates have dropped to 14.7% and 5.2% respectively in 2021.

Executive Coordinator of CAPHRA (Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates) Nancy Loucas, recently discussed the findings from another recent survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food & Drug Administration (FDA) which similarly indicated a drop in vaping rates.

“Alarm bells about a United States’ youth vaping epidemic have now been proven to be false,” said Loucas on discussing the findings. “CAPHRA has long been calling out Bloomberg’s anti-vaping and anti-nicotine activism. We now have government data that completely contradicts their claims of an exploding youth vaping epidemic,” she added.

Titled ‘Notes from the Field: E-cigarette Use Among Middle and High School Students — United States, 2022’, the study found that 9.4% of middle and high schoolers surveyed reported currently vaping. In 2019 this figure was at 20%, and in 2020, 13.1%.

Smoking rates have been declining in parallel to increased vaping rates
Similarly, new data from the government-sponsored Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey, which University of Michigan researchers conducted in collaboration with the National Institute on Drug Abuse, has also reiterated that there is no need for any further concern about teen vaping, as the surge which had alarmed the FDA in 2018 and 2019 is dropping. Moreover, highlighted the survey, as vaping became more predominant among teens and young adults, smoking rates started declining.

Including data from students in the eighth, 10th, and 12th grades, the survey found that the vaping rate peaked at 10.5% in 2020 among eighth-graders before falling to 7.6% last year. While among 10th- and 12th-graders, it peaked at 19.9% and 25.5%, respectively, in 2019 and had fallen to 13.1% and 19.6%, respectively, by last year.

Similarly, the 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) had indicated that e-cigarette use amongst teens had dropped by a third. Carried out between January 16th and March 16th, the school-based survey indicated that 19.6% of high school students (3.02 million) reported e-cigarette use, down from 27.5% (4.11 million) in 2019. Amongst middle school students the figure dropped aswell, from 10.5% (1.24 million) in 2019, to 4.7% (550 000).

Before 2019 there was a drop in substance use but not vaping
In fact a study conducted at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, found a drop in substance abuse among US adolescents, with the exception of cannabis and vapes until 2019. Titled, “Adolescents’ Use of Free Time and Associations with Substance Use from 1991 to 2019,” the study was published online in the journal Substance Use and Misuse. Examining data from​ 536,291 adolescents between 1991–2019, the research team attributed this drop in substance abuse to a number of social factors, such as low social engagement and participation in structured activities including partying.