The survey found that from 2011 to 2012, instances of past month smoking (that is, individuals that had smoked within the last month of responding) among 12- to 17-year-olds dropped from 7.8 percent to 6.6 percent.
This really isn’t all that surprising. Youth smoking rates have been on the decline for a while. In 2002, the past month use for the same age group was a solid 13%. So someone somewhere is doing something right.
Anti-smoking fanatics are likely to call this a track record of success. They’ll use these kinds of results as proof that they know what they’re doing and follow up with something like, “So trust us when we say e-cigs are bad.” But really, who says they were the ones that made these declines happen.
Really, no one can say exactly what has contributed to the decline in smoking and smoking initiation rates. There’s a lot of programs, campaigns, new tools and therapies, and — let us not forget — electronic cigarettes on the market. Many of these may have contributed a part to the decline, but it also possible some of them contributed nothing to it. For instance, adding a surgeon general warning to cigarette packs may have helped, but so many other strategies have been implemented in tandem that we can’t know if that one change made any difference.
What we can say is that the decline we’ve seen for the last decade doesn’t appear to be slowing down now the electronic cigarettes are on the market. If nothing else, they appear to be speeding it up.