I See Your Emotion Based Argument On the Alleged ‘Teen Vape Epidemic’ And Raise It With the Facts!

With all the hysteria around the so called ‘teen vape epidemic’ sometimes you need to step away from the emotional rhetoric and grab hold of those cold hard facts.

And that’s exactly what our friends over at the awesome Ashtray Blog have done and in particular vape science writing expert Lee Johnson.

Rather than go in all guns blazing he’s took a step back and taken a cool calm look at what the numbers say. The numbers in this case being the actual amount of young kids vaping and smoking. What he’s found should go along way to counter the claim kids are taking up vaping in their droves and triggering what some say is a ‘public health crisis’.

kids vaping

Whether the naysayers and anti-vape soccer mom fueled crowd will listen is doubtful – but his wondrously researched article: Teen Vaping: What the Numbers Say whilst already being shared across social media – really needs to be spread even further in the hope it may reach the ears and eyes of those politicians and other peddlers of fake vaping news and BS.

For the record the guys at E-cigarette Direct sent the article to us for our take on it and also said we were more than welcome to use the images – thank you. This more than anything shows that for most of us in vaping or vape advocacy it’s getting the truth behind the fake vape news out that’s more important than anything else.

Lee writes:

If there is an “epidemic” of teen vaping in the US, what is happening to the smoking rate? Is it non-smoking teens who vape, or is it mainly confined to smokers? How do vaping rates compare to things like drinking rates or illegal drug use rates?

What we need in this debate isn’t anger and knee-jerk reactions: it’s the data and an open mind.

So we’ve put together some key statistics about vaping and smoking in the UK, US and Australia, to take a look at the issue without putting on our ideological glasses. What does the data really tell us?

who are the kids that vape

As a former old-school ‘newspaper man’ I guess some – OK most lol – of my articles can shall we say be a little ‘angry’ and ‘opinionated’ to say the least. Whilst I do try to marry what I hope is readable and entertaining prose with the cold hard facts and data – I have to agree it’s extremely important to let the facts speak for themselves.

So for once…lol…I’ll lay out Lee’s carefully researched facts and add my take and twopence worth at the end 😉

BTW the data has been gleaned from various sources including the NHS – ASH – the US and Australian Government.

Smoking And Vaping Rates: UK Youngsters

Using the survey from the NHS: Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Among Young People in England – 2016 it shows:

  • There’s been a fall in the number of young people smoking regularly – classed as once per week or more
  • Occasional smoking – just once per week has remained constant
  • Number of those who have never smoked has also declined

teen uk smoking rates graph

Vaping Among Young People In the UK ‘Very Low’

The results of the ASH survey: Use Of Electronic Cigarettes Among Children In Great Britain and it shows:

  • An increase in vaping by young people as smoking rates drop
  • A ‘dramatic’ increase in under 18s ‘trying’ e-cigarettes
  • However – it’s a tiny increase in those who vape regularly

Smoking And Vaping Rates: US Youngsters

The data comes from the National Youth Tobacco Survey

    • Smoking in the past week has fallen by a whopping 58%
    • Those who have never smoked has dropped by 43%
    • Past week smoking is just 2.4%

us vaping rates among teens facts

Vaping Among Young People In the USA

  • Smoking rates have dropped significantly among young people at all levels
  • A rise in young people trying vaping from 2012 – those rates are now falling dramatically to around 20%
  • Dramatic fall in those occasionally vaping to around 5% [from 8%]
  • Regular young vapers dropped to around 3%

Smoking And Vaping Rates: Australian Youngsters

The data is from the: Australian Secondary Students Use of Tobacco, Alcohol, Over-the-Counter Drugs, and Illicit Substances survey

  • A 25% decline in young people smoking – significantly less than UK and US
  • 27% of youngsters have never smoked
  • Smoking in the past week is at 5%

australia smoking rates young people

Vaping Among Young People In Australia

Note: the stats from down under are tricky to interpret as vaping with nicotine is illegal – so figures could include zero nic vapers.

  • Weekly vaping in Australia among young people is just 1.7%
  • 0.1% of never smokers vaped regularly
  • 0.2% vaped daily
  • 2.7% of young smokers vaped regularly

Final Thoughts

To use the phrase your ‘emotions aren’t an argument‘ describes the article Lee has presented perfectly – simply put the facts don’t lie but emotions can and do.

In this case we clearly see a fall in young people taking up smoking whilst those that are smoking are turning to vaping to help them quit. Saying that even the numbers of young people vaping regularly after quitting are falling and so low as barely registered so most definitely NOT a sign of a teen vaping crisis.

Even that old chestnut ‘peer pressure’ seems to be a none argument here as the numbers trying vaping continues to fall.

As I always say whilst none of us want to see youngsters vaping OR smoking I’d rather see the kids come off all forms of lit tobacco and if e-cigarettes help them do that then that’s – to some extent – OK. Kids hooked on smoking are – and the data shows this – making thoughtful and some might say life changing choices despite the media and Government scare tactics…more power to them.

Great article and a great read and just a quick note on the alcohol and drug use by youngsters compared to the so called ‘vaping epidemic’.

Lee says:

In a nutshell, in all three countries, vaping is less common than drug use, and in the UK and Australia especially it is much less common than drinking alcohol.

As the grandad of a 10-year-old boy who isn’t that far from becoming a teenager, hand on heart I’d rather his rite of passage or rebellious act was to pick up a JUUL than a syringe or bottle of strong cider.

vaping vs drug use among young people

Strange how the focus – and the cries of ‘an epidemic’ particularly in the USA – has been centred on the relatively harmless e-cigarette and nicotine rather than the life and family destroying alcohol and drug addiction…

Things that make you go ummmm.

I urge you to read Lee’s full article: Teen Vaping: What the Numbers Say

No Teen ‘Vaping Epidemic’ In The UK Says Public Health England

Despite dire warnings from the media and the anti-vape crowd, Public Health England says regular use of e-cigarettes among young people is still extremely low and showing no signs of rising here in the UK.

However despite vaping being clearly the most successful way to quit smoking only a third of adult smokers has ever tried an e-cigarette and PHE tells the NHS this needs to change and quickly.

The new PHE report was released today and is the first of 3 the UK Government has ordered as part of the Tobacco Control Plan for England – I wrote in detail about this ‘grand plan‘ back in July 2017.

kids vaping

The report shows that whilst young people are ‘experimenting’ with e-cigarettes the numbers have only increased slightly with 1.7% of under 18s vaping once a week or more. However most of those smoke and of those who have never smoked and tried an e-cig the figure is extremely low at 0.2%.

On the subject of younger vapers Professor John Newton, Health Improvement Director at Public Health England said:

In contrast to recent media reports in the US, we are not seeing a surge in e-cigarette use among young people in Britain.

While more young people are experimenting with e-cigarettes, the crucial point is that regular use remains low and is very low indeed among those who have never smoked.

We will keep a close watch on young people’s vaping and smoking habits to ensure we stay on track to achieve our ambition of a smoke-free generation.

As we all know kids like to ‘experiment’ with all sorts of things as they grow up and develop. Sometimes as a form of rebellion – to shock – or to just express themselves. Whilst I’m not condoning young people smoking it has and probably will be seen as a ‘rite of passage’ by many.

The fact that most young people here in the UK trying vaping are those that are already smoking shows they have ignored the fake news and in many cases are looking to e-cigarettes to help them quit which has to be a positive.

It’s also refreshing to see that under 18’s who have ‘never smoked’ but have ‘tried’ an e-cigarette [tried being the operative word] is so low it’s almost off the chart. What this shows is that despite claims of peer pressure making vaping look cool this new generation ain’t for fooling and more power to them.

NHS Should Urge All Smokers To Switch To Vaping

The report states the number of older smokers in the UK continues to fall with just 15% of adults using lit tobacco.

However PHE thinks that figure could fall faster IF the NHS Stop Smoking Services promoted the use of e-cigarettes more widely and make it very clear indeed that traditional patches – gums and sprays play second fiddle in successful quit smoking attempts.

They back this up using results from a study showing e-cigarettes are TWICE as likely to help smokers quit than other methods pointing out that:

Despite e-cigarettes now being the most popular quit aid, just over a third of smokers have never tried one. Only 4% of quit attempts through Stop Smoking Services in England are made using e-cigarettes, despite this being an effective approach.

professor john newton
Professor John Newton PHE

Professor Newton made it very clear:

We could accelerate the decline in smoking if more smokers switched completely to vaping. Recent new evidence clearly shows using an e-cigarette with Stop Smoking Service support can double your chances of quitting.

But with e-cigarettes currently used so rarely in services, it’s time for change. Every Stop Smoking Service must start talking much more about the potential of vaping to help smokers quit.

If you smoke, switching to vaping could save you years of ill health, and even your life.

You can’t get clearer support for the effectiveness and indeed health benefits of e-cigs than that!

He was joined by lead author of the report – Professor Ann McNeill, Professor of Tobacco Addiction at King’s College London – who said:

We are encouraged that regular vaping among young people in Britain who have never smoked remains low. However, we need to stay vigilant and in particular closely monitor youth smoking.

With just over a third of adult smokers having never tried an e-cigarette, there is a clear opportunity for more smokers to try a method which has helped many others to quit.

Smokers should be advised to stop smoking as soon as possible and explore all available options for support, including e-cigarettes.

PHE says the very best way to quit is through NHS SSS whilst using an e-cig – a notion that most of us who now vape didn’t need if we’re honest. However they do say:

The report says that combining e-cigarettes with face-to-face support should remain a recommended option available to all smokers. It calls for stop smoking practitioners and health professionals supporting smokers to receive education and training, in the use of e-cigarettes in quit attempts.

Online training is now available, via the National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training (NCSCT).


I wrote about that training in the article A Third Of UK Cancer Specialists ‘Unclear’ About Benefits Of E-Cigs – which as the title suggests shows the majority of NHS bosses and staff are still woefully ignorant of the benefits of e-cigarettes. Whether this report will change that is unclear – but lets certainly hope so!

It’s yet another positive report on e-cigarettes from the UK Government and Public Health England and is the complete contrast to the hysteria currently being played out over in America.

One has to ask…Why?

Read the complete report: Vaping in England: evidence update summary February 2019

Another story that hits the headlines in the USA with teens and vaping..

US Government Says Give Kids That Vape Prescription Drugs Before They Turn Into Zombified Homeless Heroin Addicts

Just when you thought the anti vaping crowd over in America couldn’t get anymore shocking or ridiculous apparently vaping now causes addiction to heroin leads to homelessness and other ‘anti-social’ traits…

Yes really…more on that in a moment…

This comes hot on the heels of the FDA’s crazy notion that hardcore prescription drugs are the best way to tackle the apparent teen vaping ‘epidemic’. And the launch of a new website The Real Cost – that portrays vaping as the work of the devil and probably about to turn you into a zombie – complete with a flesh eating virus and with a USB socket for a mouth…once again yes really…The real cost of vaping - Anti vape America

Hey I’m all for education rather than legislation…but the education has to be full of checked facts and certainly not a one sided scarefest that looks as if it was created by one of the writers of the Walking Dead.

OK let’s try to break down this shit storm of complete anti vape bollocks into manageable chunks…excuse the language but this lot has really got my usual patience a little stretched…

Is There Really A Teen Vaping Epidemic And Is Nicotine So Bad?

Scientists seem clear that nicotine delivered via smoking can affect the developing brain of adolescents – just how is not 100% clear as there hasn’t been that many studies done on kids for obvious reasons. However to be fair and balanced some tests in rats have shown that given the adolescent brain is not fully developed there is possibility of changes to the brain.

But that’s through smoking and NOT the use of e-cigarettes. Despite a raft of research and studies there’s still not one conclusive piece of evidence that older teenagers that vape nicotine based e-liquids are damaging their brains.

Nicotine and vaping

The mainstream media feed off obscure and pretty much inconclusive research papers that points to anything vape related as not only dangerous for kids – but that vape companies are actively targeting kids to hook them in early.

This is plainly bullshit of the highest degree but that hasn’t stopped sound bite hungry politicians from all levels of Government from jumping on the “save the poor kids” bandwagon with the battle cry “Ban the Flavours!

Despite the use of the word ‘epidemic’ there’s no real evidence this is the case – for a start Scott Gottleib the FDA commissioner will not release the data he says proves this! However the last public record of actual teen vapers shows a very different story – especially when you remove the spin on the numbers the FDA is using to ‘prove’ their point.

The Consumer Advocates for Smoke Free Alternatives Association [CASAA] blows a hole in this claim of an epidemic quite beautifully:

In his statement, Dr. Gottlieb refers to having “preliminary data” that shows an “epidemic” of vaping among young people.

But it is perplexing, if not suspicious, that the FDA is threatening extreme enforcement action (e.g. removing products from the market) without releasing the data.

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. (See graph and chart below.)

no teen vape epidemic
via: CASAA

So once again we’re at a impasse with both sides arguing their figures are right – only one side actually showing it publicly – and yeah Mark Twain’s quote “lies lies and damn statistics” comes to mind. But I reiterate the CASA figures are public knowledge – the FDA’s is hidden…

So sure it’s a worry that under age kids are vaping – but that’s NOT the fault of the vape industry or flavoured e-liquids – it’s down to parents – proper education on the facts and for sure adults quitting smoking should NOT be the ones punished by having vaping removed as a harm reduction and enjoyment option.

Kids drink alcohol…are we to ban that [it’s been done before in America] – pretty sure glue sniffing was a ‘thing’ once – did they ban glue? And how about the recent ‘trend or ‘epidemic’ of dusting – where kids were getting high inhaling computer keyboard cleaners – did those get banned? I could go on but you get my point – banning anything to ‘protect the kids’ is using a sledgehammer to crack a peanut…

Give the Kids Drugs To Wean Them Off E-Cigarettes

So Gottleib’s 180 on all things vape has come off the back of a fake media vaping news feeding frenzy due to the apparent epidemic of teens using the hugely popular JUUL pod kit.

This has led to McCarthy style witch-hunts on not just JUUL but all pod systems – vape kits and of course flavoured e-liquid. San Francisco was the first to ban all flavours with more including New York state looking to follow suit. Indeed JUUL recently had its offices ‘raided’ by FDA storm-troopers who ‘seized’ documents as part of the department’s ‘war on vaping‘…crazy!

FDA-approved stop smoking drugs

Gottleib has held meetings with what he’s calling the ‘top 5 vape companies’ in America – 4 of whom are Big Tobacco based – and on the back of that he’s called a Public Meeting the aim of which is to:

…discuss its efforts to eliminate youth electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use as well as other tobacco product use, with a focus on the potential role of drug therapies to support youth e-cigarette cessation and the issues impacting the development of such therapies.

And there once again is that proverbial sledgehammer to crack a peanut analogy. This isn’t even a knee-jerk reaction it’s actually a fully fledged field goal kick – or conversion if like me you’re a rugby fan…

Just let that sink in a minute…

If a youngster is vaping rather than have the facts explained to them by the educated not the ignorant – they should be offered prescription drugs to wean them off…

The Kids In America Are The Most Drugged In The World

Drugging kids is nothing new in America – far from it…I remember seeing a Louis Theroux documentary – America’s Medicated Kids – and found that shocking to say the least. Having administered hard hitting drugs in another profession I know the side effects ANY drug can have on adults let alone kids.

In that documentary Theroux calls the parents shoveling ritalin down kids necks as ‘lazy’ – couldn’t agree more. Sure you can bang on about ADHD all you want but there’s an real epidemic mainly in America of kids hooked on this shit with might I add full FDA approval.

And yes…the side-effects of those drugs echo worryingly with the so called stop smoking prescription medication. Cast your minds back to my article Suicide Or Vaping? – You Decide. In that piece I wrote of the awful and deadly side-effects the stop smoking drugs have including suicide. Now it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the issue here…

The FDA want to ban vaping because of the possibility teens [i] become addicted and [ii] it may harm their developing brains – but are happy enough to allow Big Pharma to cash in using mind bending drugs that side effects include [there are far more]:

Serious mental or mood problems (including depression, suicidal thoughts, suicidal attempts) and completed suicides…sleep disorders – vomiting – anger – belching – constipation and flatulence…

Fart jokes aside the only stink here is Big Tobacco and Big Pharma creating and fanning a wildfire then cosying up to the FDA to offer a cash grab solution…Big T kills – Big P rules…a very very clever pincer movement any battle hardened general would be proud of…the warmongers of the day are without doubt lobbyists from the big two…

Grimm Green Enters The Fray

This issue has just been picked up by the extremely popular US YouTube vape reviewer and advocate Grimm Green. In his latest 510 Report video he slams the FDA drug the vaping kids planned policy as “lunacy”…see his full video below and also make sure you follow his rallying cry to get involved with the fight to save vaping in America.

The video also gives a brilliant timeline of vaping and how the hell we got to where we are today with this monumentally stupid situation of drugging kids – well worth a watch:

As regular readers know I completely agree with his assumption that Big Tobacco and Big Pharma are at the heart of this war on vaping and love his quote:

…this is kind of crummy capitalism at its worst…

On the matter of the FDA considering drugging kids that vape he asks the question:

How is everyone not outraged by this?

Absolutely…and might I suggest to my learned friend those Big Pharma lobbyists are making damn sure the holier than thou politicians and mainstream media are keeping their mouths well and truly shut about the true facts here…me a conspiracy theorist? Naw….

Incidentally his comments on the Johns Hopkins ‘study’ of heavy metals found in e-liquids are excellent and echo the piece I did back in February this year: No…Vaping Won’t Give You Brain Damage Due To Heavy Metals.

OK if this issue has indeed got you all riled up – show your outrage by heading over to CASAA and joining the fight to literally save vaping and to save the kids…

So Does Vaping Lead To Heroin Addiction and Homelessness?

Stupid question I know…but hey buckle up for this little gem from the charity Children4Change in which a child addresses a group of politicians about to slam the ban hammer down on flavoured tobacco products.

The little girl in question is definitely eloquent – though as my old newspaper editor used to say when tearing up one of my [many] badly researched articles “don’t let the facts get in the way of the story…” – a harsh irony at the time 😉

Anyway here’s a piece of what she said that had misty eyed local politicians reaching for the tissues and the ban hammer.

Vaping can lead to other drugs or alcohol addictions such as cigarette smoking, heroin and more. Vaping can lead to poor decisions such as going homeless, dropping out of school, child abuse, going broke, and more.

As I’ve said before if you begin an argument from a lie then the rest no matter how eloquently spoken is invalid!

little girl vaping tweet

Here’s the link to the full video and active Twitter conversation:

“Vaping can lead to other drugs or alcohol addictions such as cigarette smoking, heroine and more. Vaping can lead to poor decisions such as going homeless, dropping out of school, child abuse, going broke, and more.” pic.twitter.com/R6d1vMEm6T

— StefanDidak (@StefanDidak) November 7, 2018

The Kids Are NOT Alright

Speaking of protecting the kids…surely that should include protecting them from the brainwashing idiots in some anti-vaping and child themed causes and websites?

Apparently not because as shown above…the anti-vaping crowd – unlike the vape industry – really does like to ‘hook ’em young’.

The Ross Valley Children for Change Club is proud of their kids playing a part in the banning of flavoured e-liquids in the area:

A big day for our community and for C4C. Thanks in large part due to the voices of our youth, the Marin Board of Supervisors passed unanimously a ban on flavored tobacco products.

Our C4C students spoke eloquently, confidently and with conviction…it made the difference we are sure!

Budding activists, leaders…you can call them many things. We call them our future! Way to go guys!!#changeforgood

Call them many things?

How about brainwashed and unclear of the facts…or is that a bit harsh?

Look if you want to throw kids into the political arena and have their voices heard then please let them face the fact that emotional ignorant based rhetoric means nothing.

The comments on Stefan Didak’s tweet which highlighted this little girls speech makes for interesting reading with legendary advocate Clive Bates asking:

This is truly shocking and very sad … any idea what the origin is and who has put her up to saying these things?

This is the immediate group… https://www.children4change.org/ …but is there some tobacco control outfit that has these talking points?

Not sure if the charity has any Big Tobacco funding but someone has put those words into her head and that is brainwashing no doubt about it.

Final Thoughts

This is without doubt a thorny subject after all no one wants to see kids harmed.

However the idea there’s an adolescent vaping epidemic in America is plainly false or at least the FDA is reacting in a ridiculous manner given all the genuine truly harmful issues they should be tackling on behalf of the kids of America.

But the battle lines are drawn and if flavoured e-liquids – pod kits and whatever else is banned in America to protect the kids the only losers will be America’s smokers who will get ill and die in the millions. It goes without saying the winners will once again be Big Tobacco and Big Pharma.

If flavoured nicotine is so bad then how come the Big Pharma backed gums and sprays are perfectly acceptable? Sure I get it those products are designed to get smokers off the cancer sticks – but the point is clear – if nicotine is so bad why is it in approved products that on the whole don’t actually work..?

And for goodness sake government backed websites that tell blatant lies and try to shock and scare kids into quitting or not starting vaping are the last thing we need.

A quick look at the key points on The Real Cost shows me the ‘bad things’ about vaping are old fake science and then some! Trust me I could take each one of the site’s ‘scare points’ and blow those vaping myths away with anti vaping arguments – but let’s leave that for another day…

I mentioned at the start that according to the FDA not only will vaping give you a USB port for a mouth – it’ll also give you a flesh eating zombie virus…zombie vaper

Like I said at the beginning of this article…I’m pretty sure the FDA is employing redundant writers from the Walking Dead for its hit pieces on all things vape…crazy times indeed…

FDA Public Hearing On Vaping Adolescents

The public hearing will be held on December 5, 2018, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The public hearing may be extended or may end early depending on the level of public participation. Persons seeking to present at the public hearing must register by Friday, November 23, 2018.

Persons seeking to attend, but not present at, the public hearing must register by Monday, December 3, 2018.

Section II provides attendance and registration information. Electronic or written comments will be accepted after the public hearing until Wednesday, January 2, 2019.



neil Humber 2
Neil Humber

I have simpler vape tastes these days - I never leave home without a Caliburn G, a Vaporesso Luxe 40 or Innokin EQ FLTR and a CBD vape pen or bottle of CBD drops in my rucksack...or indeed an Aspire Nautilus Prime X in my pocket... At home I'll be using various mods topped with the GeekVape Zeus X RTA or the Signature Mods Mono SQ topped with the Augvape BTFC RDA... I'm a former journalist and now a writer and sometimes author... I'm ex Army - adore dogs and never happier than hiking over the hills or with a good book on a beach.

I have simpler vape tastes these days - I never leave home without a Caliburn G, a Vaporesso Luxe 40 or Innokin EQ FLTR and a CBD vape pen or bottle of CBD drops in my rucksack...or indeed an Aspire Nautilus Prime X in my pocket... At home I'll be using various mods topped with the GeekVape Zeus X RTA or the Signature Mods Mono SQ topped with the Augvape BTFC RDA... I'm a former journalist and now a writer and sometimes author... I'm ex Army - adore dogs and never happier than hiking over the hills or with a good book on a beach.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here