Published on August 31st, 2016 | by Jimmy Hafrey
New studies out this week have proven what most in the vaping community already know: teens are using vaping for flavor, not nicotine.
Both Tech Times and The Daily Caller are reporting on a new study out this week from the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research. The study showed that while vaping is gaining popularity, most teens are using e-liquids that don’t contain any nicotine.
The study, which was published in the British Medical Journal’s Tobacco Control, was conducted by polling over 15,000 students across the United States at the eighth, 10th, and 12th grades. These students were asked about their vaping habits and, more importantly, why they vape.
Over 65 percent of all students polled revealed that they vaped for flavor and not for nicotine. Just 20 percent of the same demographic said they used vaping devices for the nicotine. This is a far cry from the so-called “majority of teens” vaping for nicotine that anti-vaping advocates have been claiming for years now.
In fact, the researchers noted this about the study: “These results indicate that while taking into account vaporizer use does indeed increase tobacco/nicotine prevalence, the impact of the vaporizers is likely not as large as might appear by their recent, dramatic increase in use among adolescents.”
The fact that two in three students reported they vaped without nicotine calls into question the idea that there is a “nicotine epidemic” among adolescents. The rise in vaping habits among young adults and teenagers seems to be linked to the fact that they can vape flavor, a factor that is right in line with a teenager’s culinary habits.
But there may be one surprising reason why teenagers don’t use nicotine. As more than one publication has mentioned in the past and is perhaps best put by Gizmodo in a 2014 article:
“[T]he less nicotine you use, the better your liquid will taste.”
As many vapers know, nicotine is a flavor-killer. This is because the ingredient has a distinct, bitter taste that is difficult to cover up. The more nicotine in a flavor, the more distinct the nicotine flavor will be. That’s why so many vape flavors are sweet, and therefore attractive, to teenagers.
It’s important to note that the main ingredients in all vape juices are propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, FDA-approved substances that are suitable for human consumption. The fact that teenagers are vaping these ingredients along with flavoring is not harmful to them is not the issue here. The misinformation campaign about the rise of teens vaping nicotine e-liquid is what’s worrisome.
However, as harmless as vaping may be for teenagers, ChurnMag continues its position on advocating for vaping age barriers. It is the belief of this publication that vaping is for adults who understand how this product can be a safer alternative to smoking.
It is also important to call out exaggerations of vaping when they arise. The fear of students using vaping for nicotine seems to have been overstated by some zealous anti-vaping advocates. Now that this issue has been cleared up, it is important to move on to other important aspects of vaping, such as the overreach of the FDA regulations.