First and foremost, I would like to point out that after more than an hour of looking, I was tragically unable to find a single picture of a child vaping anywhere on God’s Green Internet. There are plenty of pictures of children smoking, mind you, and I can’t help but notice that cigarettes remain fully legal albeit barred from purchase by minors. That said, I finally settled on this picture of a refined, stoic baby with a pipe which, but for the ancient, sepia-tone atmosphere of the photo, might just as well be an E-pipe for all we know. Now… on to the story at hand which is the vaping of E-cigarettes by 6 year-olds. Actually, the story covers ages 6 to 17, but I have no doubts that the majority of the media will report this story with the term “6 year-olds” somewhere in the headline.
Recently, the American Lung Association (who should be dancing jigs of joy and thanksgiving over the advent of the electronic cigarette) has released a statement about the alleged “fact” that children are beginning to use E-cigarettes at an “:alarming rate.” OK… First and foremost let’s just take the word “alarming” out of there and let us decide for ourselves whether or not we think the rate in question is alarming. Second, the actual statistics quoted are the following: 1. In just one year, the rate of 6th to 12th graders who have tried E-cigarettes has more than doubled from 3.3% to 6.8%. 2. The rate of E-cigarette usage by 6 to 12 year-olds has increased from 1.1% to 2.1%. 3. 20% of middle schoolers who admitted to having tried E-cigs said that they had never tried an analog, tobacco cigarette before. 4. High schoolers who had tried E-cigs claimed at a rate of 7.2% that they never tried an analog. So, in response to these seemingly very serious and rock-steady numbers I have only a few questions…
Isn’t “6th to 12th graders” a rather large spread, considering all of the changes that take place during those years? How many of that increased percentage of teenagers were 18 years-old or older? Almost all 12th graders are legal adults, and some have been legal adults for several years already. I had a 21 year-old friend in my senior class. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that the range of 6th to 12th grade “children” was chosen in order to make those numbers sound more “alarming,” since they already claimed in the first paragraph of the article that the information to follow was going to be “alarming.” Now, that next bit about 6 to 12 year-old children falls under the previous question… why the incredibly large spread of ages here? How many of the 1.1% and 2.1% (the following year) were closer to 12 than they were to 6? Next, apparently when a middle school-aged kid claims to have never smoked a tobacco cigarette before, even after being caught red-handed vaping an e-cig, this statement now qualifies as “not at all suspicious.” Back your 10 year old into a corner some day and ask them point blank whether or not he/she has ever uttered one of those dreaded “curse words.” Now, whatever their answer is… that is definitely the truth, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Their claim to have a clean mouth is gospel truth just because they claimed it. I honestly don’t know who it was to originally decide to print these so-called “statistics,” but the fact that they consider something like this to “probably be true.” is laughable in and of itself. The rate for high schoolers has of course lower, in that more high schoolers admitted to smoking tobacco cigarettes in addition to vaping E-cigs. The reason for this? Again, how many of these were juniors or seniors, legal adults or almost legal adults?
Let me put this a different way… According to a CDC report concerning tobacco use in American middle and high schoolers, in the span of one year (2010 to 2011) tobacco use of all sorts dropped more than half. How much of this drop, I wonder, is due to the rising popularity of a more healthy alternative, namely E-cigarettes? In the words of that guy who does the voice-over for Tootsie Pop commercials, “The world may never know.” And let’s try this little gem, just for kicks: Alcohol use for ages 12 through 20, or more specifically for age groups 12 to 13, 14 to 15, 16 to 17, and 18 to 20 (you know, the way real statistical groupings are arranged), has neither dropped or risen over the past 20 years, but has remained “alarmingly” (like over 25% “alarming”). So what do we do in response to this? We turn the other way when Pinnacle releases Gummy Bear flavored vodka. We pretend that Mike’s Hard Lemonade isn’t going to be attractive at all to younger crowds. And most surprisingly, we all seem to be under the impression that nicotine use by teenagers is somehow more dangerous than alcohol use by teenagers… teenagers whose binging and drunk driving rates are higher than those of older, more experienced (read 25+) drinkers.
Back to the original article, the author can’t help but throw a little more fear into their writing when she mentions that E-cigarettes can be used to “smoke” hash oil (yeah, she uses the term “smoke” here because she obviously has done little to no research into the subject on which she claims to be expert enough to drive public opinion). So now you must fear your child will now decide, “Hey, I can finally “smoke” pot now that E-cigarettes exist!” Does that sound like something you’d expect to come out of anyone’s mouth? I’ve let the reader make up their own mind on that one. Funny thing… spoons are used for freebase and heroine, and also to transport unhealthy foods to one’s mouth for purposes of ingestion. Ban all spoons! Computers are used to engage in lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of illegal activity… much of which is perpetrated by minors. Ban all computers! Roads are used by many to transport themselves to the places where they intend to commit crimes. Ban all roads! I’m sure you can see that this list is literally infinite. We should just skip all the various middle men and ban the entire Universe, because it contains a planet that grows coffee, which is responsible for high blood pressure. I notice that the author also failed to mention that E-cigarettes can also be used to vape (not “smoke”) vitamins, as well as illegal, psychotropic substances. But alas, that’s for a different article.
I’m sure by now you, the reader, have gathered that the title of this article is meant to directly mock the kind of thinking that produces such blatant dumb-assery. I figured I’d show these guys what real, fantastical, made-up “alarming” facts look like. If you really want to strike fear into the hearts of men, tell them that ALL of their children are going to die very, very soon. I mean, you’re just making up your own stuff as you go anyway, so at least make up something that actually sounds scary, like, for real!
-htt p://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/pulp/2013/09/middle_schoolers_electronic_cigarettes_kids.php (link broken on purpose. I don’t want to help out their Google ranking)