Teens try vaping, but don’t take it up

The headline:

One in four teens vapers have never smoked tobacco, study finds

But the actual data:

The latest study found that out of 27,083 year 10 students surveyed, 840 vaped daily. And 10,093 had tried at least one puff of an e-cigarette, up from 5633 in 2014.

So 37% of year 10 students have tried an e-cigarette. But 92% did not become regular uses and only 8% did. Which means overall prevalance rate is just 3.1%. Hardly an epidemic.

Lead author of the study, Associate Professor Dr Natalie Walker from the University of Auckland, said these findings were consistent with other national surveys and did not support the idea of a so-called youth vaping epidemic in New Zealand.

“Despite increases in experimentation, it is encouraging that daily use remains low, especially for non-smokers.

“In fact, we believe that might be displacing smoking for young people. Concerns about youth vaping should be weighed against the possibility that e-cigarettes could decrease the risk of smoking initiation and support smoking youth to quit.”

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) chairman Professor Robert Beaglehole said the findings were very encouraging as they showed that despite a lack of government oversight, youth vaping remains low, and largely confined to smokers.

“It is the smoke that kills, and without smoke vaping remains far less harmful than smoking.

“Encouraging existing smokers to switch could have substantial health gains. Of course, we do not want non-smokers, especially young people, to take up vaping, and this survey suggests that it is an unlikely scenario.”

So when you ignore the headline, the actual story is positive.

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