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CDC Says Teen Attraction to Vaping is Not Because of Flavored E-Liquids

CDC Says Teen Attraction to Vaping is Not Because of Flavored E-Liquids

CDC Says Teen Attraction to Vaping is Not Because of Flavored E-Liquids

CDC Says Teen Attraction to Vaping is Not Because of Flavored E-Liquids
October 04, 2021

It seems that the Center for Disease Control has a very different view than Health Canada when it comes to finding the root cause for teen vaping. The CDC published the results of a survey they conducted in 2019. The CDC's National Youth Tobacco Survey found that teens were not attracted to vaping because of flavored e-liquids. In fact, when asked what it was that attracted them to vaping, a majority answered simple curiosity.

This finding is consistent with studies from around the world, including Australia, England, France, New Zealand, and Scotland, had all reported similar results. It begs the questions, where is Health Canada getting its information? What studies have they conducted? Any at all? Or are they just making this up as they go along to suit a political agenda?

Curiosity Over Every Thing Else

When asked what drew them to vaping, the majority of young people said it was curiosity that compelled them to try e-cigarettes. Around 22% of respondents said they liked vaping because they could perform tricks, roughly the same percentage of teens who said they were attracted to e-cigarettes because they were available flavored.

The top four reasons why young people began vaping, according to the National Youth Tobacco Survey put flavors at 3rd place (22.4%). This followed curiosity (55.3%), family/friends using (30.8%), and was just ahead of doing tricks (21.2%)

Theories Versus Asking The Kids

Since 1999, the New York State Toxics Use Survey has been examining adolescent tobacco use habits. The data arrived at a time when public perception of vaping and e-cigarettes was at an all-time low. EVALI (e-cigarette and vaping-associated lung injury) hospitalized thousands of people in the summer and caused more than 50 fatalities.

Before EVALI began studying and tracking cases, there was a dramatic increase in adolescent vaping, which some public health experts characterized as an "epidemic." According to critics, a lot of the responsibility for such high teenage vape usage was laid at the feet of so-called "flavored" e-liquids.

Much blame has been put on two main reasons for e-cigarettes' growing popularity among youngsters: flavors and marketing tactics that made them appealing and fashionable. Many parents, health experts, and government officials in these concerned groups have not bothered to inquire with the youth about why they vaped. They only assumed things about them instead.

Release of Timely Results

Following are some of the points that preceded the release of the results of NYTS:

  • The FDA issued a partial prohibition on flavored vape cartridges, with the exception of menthol and tobacco.
  • Several jurisdictions proposed a ban on flavored cartridges. The eight states were Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Washington.
  • Three other states had bans that were already in effect during the time that other states were fighting legal challenges in prohibition. Those were Rhode Island, Utah, Washington.

Other Bans and Information

The New York State Supreme Court at that time approved an injunction to prevent a ban that was proposed targeting flavored vapes. Governor Cuomo stated he would submit a bill in the state legislature to prohibit flavors regardless, claiming that "unscrupulous vaping companies" target teenagers with flavors through marketing.

There were, in fact, two CDC studies. The other research blamed the EVALI outbreak on Vitamin E acetate. This was in direct contradiction to the hysterical that was surrounding vaping during that time. Very little, however, was seen in the media about this.

The CDC's research has received little to no reaction from elected officials, concerned parent organizations, or public health experts.


However, of course, the interested parties in the vaping debate would not respond to the CDC's findings. Such a move would require them to retract all of their previously stated concerns about sinister e-cigarette firms attempting to addict children to nicotine through fruity flavors like cotton candy and bubblegum.

It appears odd to me that people think only teenagers are attracted to savory flavors as if taste buds wear out with age. Isn't it conceivable that adults enjoy cotton candy and bubblegum, too? Or do grown-ups only consume or drink things that have a tobacco or menthol flavor?

Flavor Restrictions Continue

It’s not just Health Canada ignoring the science. 

According to the FDA and NIH's Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study, flavored tobacco products are a possible incentive for young people and young adults to start smoking. As of early 2021, the association resulted in two states—California and Massachusetts—banning the sale of flavored tobacco products, while three states banned the sale of flavored e-cigarettes.

At least eight states—Connecticut, Hawaii, Indiana, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Vermont, and Texas—have introduced bills that would ban in total all flavored tobacco products in an effort to eliminate disparities in health caused by smoking. This would include menthol cigarettes.

States such as Vermont are including legislative findings that flavored tobacco products are linked to youth tobacco use as part of their proposed legislation to prohibit flavored tobacco goods.

Decline in Cases

According to a new CDC report, the number of newly reported cases of e-cigarette- or vaping-induced lung injuries, known as EVALI, in the United States is continuing to drop.

According to CDC's statistics, the number of new hospital admissions for EVALI peaked at 215 on week Sept. 15, 2019.

The number of visits per week has dropped dramatically to 35 per million since the start of January 2020.

Will Reason and Data Prevail?

The FDA continues to discourage young people and pregnant women from smoking e-cigarettes.

Following the FDA's pressures, Juul had already discontinued selling its flavored e-cigarettes in stores. Customers could only acquire the flavors — creme, mango, fruit, and cucumber — on its age-restricted website.

New proposals and bans in the last few years have targeted flavor. Products that are prohibited will not be allowed to return to the market without clearance from the FDA. That review process could take months or years.

Of course, does this affect only pre-filled cartridges? Apparently, legislators believe kids do not like open tank systems. Perhaps true.

So What Gives, Health Canada?

Health Canada’s press release announcing their intention to ban flavours says “Research shows that flavoured vaping products are highly appealing to youth.”  This feels like a blanket statement, that while may be true, does not fit into the cause and effect dynamic they are making it out be, and like the FDA and State legislatures south of the border, completely ignores the conclusions found from studies conducted all over the world. 

The question that needs to be answered by Health Canada before they try to destroy an industry is this: If we choose not to ignore the multitude of studies that tell us that teen vaping is rooted in curiosity and not flavors, won’t that curiosity shift teen focus to the far more harmful combustible cigarette? A cynic may already have the answer - “Yes. Yes it will, and that’s the real reason for any flavour ban.”

It has been said a lot about how "flavours" entice children to vape. It was assumed as fact. Nobody ever offered any proof that this was true, and now there's evidence, no one is talking about it.

The argument that flavored vape cartridges were "targeted" to children was always incorrect, and now we have the proof.

It seems clearer now more than ever that a flavour ban will only result in teens returning to the cigarette, and with it, a return to another major health crisis propped up by Big Tobacco, and legitimized by Health Canada, of all organizations.

To learn more about the tobacco industry's influence, read more on our blog and check out our website with articles on safety, technologies, and new trends!

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