Setting the record straight about vaping

Setting the record straight about vaping

In recent years, concerns about youth vaping have captured headlines, leading many to perceive it as an epidemic gripping our youth. However, a closer examination of the data reveals a more nuanced reality. Let's explore the facts and dispel the misconception surrounding youth vaping.

Challenging the Narrative

While it's true that youth experimentation with vaping saw an uptick in 2018 and 2019, the latest data suggests a different trend. Contrary to popular belief, youth vaping rates decreased in 2020, with data collected before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Moreover, it's essential to scrutinize the metrics used to gauge youth vaping prevalence. Much of the data reported focuses on experimentation, defined as trying vaping—even just once—in the past 30 days. This distinction is crucial, as it does not necessarily reflect regular or habitual use among adolescents.

Examining the Data

When analyzing youth vaping rates, it's important to consider the prevalence of daily use among adolescents. Contrary to alarmist claims, data indicates that daily use of vapor products by youth remains relatively low, accounting for less than 5% of adolescents as of 2020.

The nuanced understanding of youth vaping prevalence challenges the characterization of an epidemic and underscores the importance of accurately interpreting data to inform public health policies and interventions.

Addressing Concerns

While any level of youth vaping warrants attention and proactive measures, it's essential to avoid sensationalism and panic-driven responses. Effective strategies for addressing youth vaping must be grounded in evidence and tailored to address the underlying factors driving experimentation and use among adolescents.

Furthermore, it's imperative to acknowledge the role of education, prevention, and harm reduction initiatives in mitigating potential risks associated with youth vaping, while also respecting adult smokers' rights to access harm reduction alternatives.


The portrayal of youth vaping as an epidemic requires a critical reassessment given the latest data and evidence. While youth experimentation with vaping did see an increase in previous years, recent trends indicate a decline in prevalence. By adopting a balanced and evidence-based approach, we can address youth vaping concerns while avoiding unwarranted panic and misinformation.