How The CDC Turned A Fall In Youth Smoking Into An Attack On E-Cigarettes

Guy Bentley | Contributor

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is guilty of making a “staggeringly dishonest” claim about youth tobacco use.

That’s according to the President of the American Vaping Association Gregory Conley, who challenged CDC data released Thursday claiming there had been no fall in youth tobacco use since 2011.

According to the CDC, overall tobacco use by middle and high school students has not changed since 2011. But there’s one big problem with the CDC’s analysis, says Conley.

The CDC includes e-cigarettes, which contain no tobacco, as part of overall tobacco use. Vaping has surged among middle and high school students in recent years despite age restrictions and cigarette use has fallen markedly. “From 2011 through 2015, significant decreases in current cigarette smoking occurred among youth,” says the CDC.

Between 2011-2015, cigarette use among high school students plummeted by more than a third from 15.8 percent to 9.3 percent. Instead of welcoming the fall in teen smoking, CDC’s director Tom Frieden focused on climbing e-cigarette use and falsely equated it with tobacco.

“E-cigarettes are now the most commonly used tobacco product among youth, and use continues to climb,” said Frieden. “No form of youth tobacco use is safe. Nicotine is an addictive drug and use during adolescence may cause lasting harm to brain development.” (RELATED: CDC Admits, No ‘Concrete’ Evidence E-Cigarettes Are Gateway To Smoking)

Conley didn’t hold back responding to the CDC’s latest intervention on the e-cigarette issue:

The CDC’s staggeringly dishonest claim that tobacco use has not declined since 2011 is worthy of skepticism. By shoving tobacco-free vapor products into the ‘tobacco’ category, the agency is abusing definitions in an attempt to alarm the public. This assertion is even more absurd when you consider that a previous federal survey found that just 20 percent of past month teen e-cigarette users reported using nicotine in their device.

These results should be read in conjunction with those from the 2015 Monitoring the Future study, which found significant decreases in teen smoking and a slight decrease in teen vaping from 2014 to 2015. The CDC knows that key findings from these two widely respected surveys are in conflict, but the agency would rather politicize the issue than give all the facts.

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Guy Bentley



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