The Slow Decline of Cigarettes (and the Rise of Vaping) among Youth
Tobacco has long since been a staple crop in North America since the 1600’s.
By the Civil War, hand-rolled, commercial cigarettes were introduced. At its boom, hundreds of billions of cigarettes were used each year throughout the world. Then, in 1964, the U.S. Surgeon General the dangers of cigarette smoke which ushered in the slow decline of the cigarette industry.
Up in Smoke: The Dissipating Cigarette Industry
The CDC is our best source for cigarette usage, having reported these stats about the U.S.:
- 17 in 100 men (and 13 in 100 women) are smokers
- The 25 – 44 and 45 – 64 age range fits most smokers
This has been a downtrend since the 1960s which seen nearly 45% of Americans puffing away. Today, the U.S. smoking rate is below 16%. One must wonder…
What caused such a rapid decline?
Public backlash fueled by dishonest companies about the addictive/dangerous properties of smoking had an effect. The rising cost per pack of cigarettes placed the addiction out of budget for many. Removing the encouraging images from media and banning smoking in many places had an effect.
Fewer parents smoking is another causation for fewer young smokers.
Simply put: smoking became uncool.
The Millennial and Gen Z Shift
Smoking has an interesting dynamic:
- People understand their dangers yet continue due to addiction
- Many consider themselves “social smokers” (only participating in social events)
- Millennials experienced the anti-tobacco shift while Gen Z is fully involved
No doubt, smoking is dangerous:
- Increase blood pressure and risk of stroke
- Increased cancer risks (lung, throat, mouth, and more)
- Increases inflammation and reduces immune system response
A popular alternative for millennials and Gen Z has been vaping. Vaping eliminates the 250+ chemicals found in processed tobacco. It also happens to have a ‘cool’ factor with a subculture of its own with modding communities and even vape competitions.
Other reasons why people are switching from smoking to vaping:
- An ample selection of flavors
- Reduced nicotine levels
- Lower costs
An individual may choose to order a Zamblebox e-juice subscription for several trial flavors. A pleasant flavor helps the individual shift from normal smoking. Nicotine levels are gradually reduced. Many have eliminated their nicotine addiction using this very same strategy.
Teens are Increasingly Health Conscious
Traditional scare tactics permeate the social conscious. Many believe vaping is a “gateway” drug that’ll lead individuals to smoking cigarettes and doing harder substances. However, this isn’t the case. MonitoringTheFuture, an organization tracking American behaviors, found nicotine vaping to be uncommon.
What does this mean?
Teens (and many adults) are trying vaping but do not make it a habit.
Teens, as a whole, have made a dramatic shift away from substance abuse. It appears awareness and social programs have done an effective job. That, and peer influence.
Vaping isn’t Sunshine and Daisies, Though
We’re still a long way from fully understanding the long-term effects of vaping. After all, electronic cigarettes have only recently become adopted by the mainstream consumer.
We are beginning to learn:
- Harmful chemicals are present in some brands of e-juice
- Nicotine is dangerous no matter how it’s exposed
- Poisoning from direct contact with e-juice has increased
Smoke-free zones have extended to vaping, too. One half for courtesy reasons and another being its agitation with those having breathing problems.
- Many e-cig users continue smoking cigarettes
- Youth access to electronic cigarettes is very easy
So, no, vaping isn’t the perfect solution to ending the last bastion of cigarette smokers. But, it does provide a safer alternative (used intelligently) to usher cessation from traditional smoking.
Your Health is in Your Hands
Thinking about smoking? Don’t.
Smoking is one of the nastiest, avoidable addictions (and money sinks) we have as Americans. If you’re one of the “social smokers” or pack-a-day types? Consider quitting or at least reducing intake by managing your nicotine levels with vaping.