New data is showing a worrisome trend about vaping and smoking among teens
Published Friday, January 18, 2019 5:20PM EST Last Updated Friday, January 18, 2019 6:29PM EST
New data is showing a worrisome trend about vaping and smoking.
Vaping rates among teens in Canada are skyrocketing. Now new research suggests for the first time in decades, cigarette smoking may be on the rise as well. The statistics are alarming: more than double the number of young people vaping in just one year. And while e-cigarettes are aimed at helping adults quit smoking, the downside is that young people are becoming addicted to them. And the truth is, we simply don’t know the long-term consequences of that.
You don't have to go far to see someone taking a puff on an e-cigarette. Vaping rates are dramatically on the rise in Canada, packing a powerful punch of nicotine.
“The “nic,” says Olivier Ste-Croix, a University of Ottawa student who vapes, “They call it getting light-headed. Sometimes it's cool.”
“I think it's bad for you,” adds student Sophie Radake, “but people aren't seeing it now. They're just doing it for the coolness factor.”
And that's a concern for folks at a weekend conference on smoking cessation in Ottawa called the State of the Art Clinical Approaches to Smoking Cessation. They say great in-roads have been made in reducing smoking through advertising policies and health awareness, but they worry we're creating another generation, a much younger generation, of nicotine users.
Dr. Neal Benowitz is with the U.S. Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, “Is it a trade-off?” he asks, “Are we helping adults quit smoking by addicting kids and if that's the case, what are the net harms and benefits? How many adults are quitting smoking and how many lives are being saved that way and what are the consequences of kids using nicotine? And actually, we don't know.”
Schools in Ottawa are trying to address this issue. Some Catholic high schools have removed their washroom doors to prevent students from vaping in them. The product of choice? It's called Juul and comes in variety of flavors.
Dr. Andrew Pipe with the Ottawa Model for Smoking Cessation says that’s part of the problem; this deliberate attempt, he says, by the tobacco industry to market to teens.
“We've got to focus on that industry which has escaped unscathed as it laughs all the way to bank while it continues to addict and cause untold damage to our health and that of our community.
After years of successfully fighting smoking rates among young people, there's a sense that e-cigarettes are re-igniting that battle. For the first time in 20 or 30 years, we're seeing a possible increase in the number of young people and teens who are smoking cigarettes.
David Hammond, a professor at the University of Waterloo says the data he examined is concerning.
“Our data suggests that smoking may have stalled,” he says, “that it may be creeping back up. That's such an important change over the past few decades that we need to see that in other studies as well but it is something to pay attention to.”
Add to that another concern: that these devices can be used to vape cannabis. Removing the bathroom doors may not be enough to stop that.