Americans have ample cause to doubt pronouncements made by the Centers for Disease Control Prevention. The CDC today issued a press release reminding us that their practice of misleading the public has been going back to before COVID-19.
The latest National Youth Tobacco Survey results (NYTS), show that approximately 2.55 million middle- and high school students in the United States reported using tobacco products within the past 30 days. You may be surprised to hear that the vast majority of these 2.55 million students used products without tobacco.
Despite vast differences in risks posed from vaping nicotine versus traditional smoking, the CDC often confuses ecigarettes with tobacco products. A press release stated that only one-third of the 2.55million students had used at least one type or combustible tobacco product. This means that two-thirds didn’t. But the CDC implies that does not really matter, because “youth use of tobacco products is unsafe in any form—combustible, smokeless, or electronic.”
The CDC claims it follows the science, and delivers its findings to Americans. However, the CDC deliberately obscures the fact that e-cigarettes pose a far greater risk than traditional, combustible cigarettes. This statement helps to explain why an increasing number of people mistakenly believe that vaping is as harmful as smoking.
You may also be surprised by something the CDC refuses to acknowledge: Teenage smoking rates have been declining since the 1990s. The downward trend has increased since vaping became popular. The CDC asserts that the replacement of smoking with vaping will lead to a significant improvement in public health. The CDC instead describes it as a serious threat to American youth.
The NYTS 2021 showed that less than 2% of high school students had reported smoking cigarettes during the month prior to 2020. This is down from 4.6% in 2020, 8.1% in 2018 and 15.8% in 2011. Because it is a detriment to the agency’s efforts to create public panic about teens smoking, this positive news from the CDC goes unnoticed.
NYTS detected a significant increase in vaping among high school students over the past few months between 2017-2019. This led to warnings regarding an “epidemic” of youth smoking. However, that 27.5 percent peak rate fell to just under 20 percent by 2020. It is now at about 11% for 2021.
The CDC states that results of the NYTS Survey 2021 “cannot” be compared to previous surveys, which were conducted “mainly on school campus campuses.” The 2021 survey was made available online because of the pandemic. Half the respondents completed the survey in school. The other half did it online. The CDC stated that “we remain confident with our study results,” but “the reporting on tobacco use could differ depending upon the environment where the survey was conducted.”
It’s impossible for the CDC to have both. Any biases created by the new methodology should not affect the accuracy of the 2021 survey, as it is supposed to.
According to the CDC’s NYTS Report, “Differences between tobacco product usage by survey completion setting could be caused by possible underreporting behaviors, decreased access to tobacco products at home or other unmeasured characteristics of students participating outside the classroom,” which was published in today’s CDC publication. Weekly Report on Morbidity and Mortality. According to the CDC, students who took part in the survey from home might have given less truthful answers than those who did it at school. It is possible that students who completed the survey at home may have been less honest than those who did it in school. However, this could also be true if there was an increased sense of privacy. Increased candor.
In any case, the CDC’s report on the e-cigarette results, which it published last September, notes that “15.0% of high school students who took the survey in a school building or classroom reported currently using e-cigarettes,” which is still 23 percent lower than the rate in 2020 (19.6 percent) and 45 percent lower than the rate in 2019 (27.5 percent). However, the downward trend in e-cigarette use was not mentioned by the report. The headline summarised the results of the survey: “Youth Ecigarette Use remains Serious Public Health Concern in the Face of the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
The report today notes that 11.7 percent of students took the survey at school to determine their current tobacco use. This is down from 16.2 percentage in 2020 and 23% in 2019. Although the CDC doesn’t mention this drop, it wouldn’t have been affected by 2021 changes in the setting where the survey was completed.
One reason the CDC ignores the declines in smoking, vaping, and overall “tobacco use” is apparent in today’s report, which describes “the availability of flavors” as a factor that “might continue to promote tobacco product use among U.S. youths.” As a strategy for reducing tobacco product consumption and youth initiation, the accompanying press release and report recommend that flavored ecigarettes be restricted.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) seems to be determined on banning almost all current vaping products in the United States. However, they have adopted this strategy. Because teenagers love menthol and tobacco flavors, the FDA is not as supportive of e-liquids. Adults, however, prefer the juvenile flavor that some anti-vaping politicians find intolerable.
It is difficult to admit that if you decide to ban these products, there will likely be more deaths from smoking. Vaping is a safer alternative than smoking and has fewer flavor options. Inconveniently, it is also important to recognize that underage vaping is on the decline and that teens are using vaping to reduce their risk of lung cancer.
In short, the CDC is distorting evidence in support of its existing policy preferences. Are you familiar with this?