How Are Others Responding To Teen Vape Use?
Newspapers in other countries continue to publish stories about teen vaping “epidemics”, ignoring the actual data on young person e-cig use. America and Australia tend to be the worst for this, so we are having a look at what kind of actions this hysterical coverage is driving them to.
The situation in America and Australia is self-feeding. Researchers produce misleading findings and scary statements in their press releases. Newspapers use the information to whip up fear, and the negative cycle continues as those researchers say ‘look what’s happening in the newspapers, we need more money to investigate this more and publish even more outrageous findings’.
It’s no wonder the public are worried and err on the side of caution – especially as it concerns their children.
The Truth Initiative is one such organisation that manages to unearth incredible findings (at odds with those produced by University College London). Truth received $40 million in funding from Pfizer and The Pfizer Foundation, a manufacturer of traditional nicotine replacement products that has seen sales decline from people switching to vaping.
Truth has been working hard to convince American schools that they have a problem. As a result, many schools have taken the incredible step of stopping children from accessing toilets by locking the bathrooms or removing the doors to the toilet stalls.
Worse, some schools have taken to calling in the police when they catch a teen with a vape pen. Three children have ended up being beaten by American officers. One, Terion Forston was captured on camera being shot twice with a tazer while he was offering no resistance. In another case, Katherine Williams was walking home following being caught vaping in the toilet only to be beaten up by two police officers.
Despite it being shown that vaping has led to dramatically falling teen smoking rates, the Teachers’ Professional Association of Queensland, Australia, has issued a call for staff to be allowed to conduct “bag checks and pocket searches on entry to schools.”
“It’s not a privacy issue, all the schools would have to do is amend their behavioural management plans,” said the Association’s Tracy Tully.
The Daily Mail’s Australian version was happy to state: “Experts warn e-cigarettes are actually even more dangerous for teens than smoking cigarettes.” It told parents that “risks of vaping can include cardiovascular disease and mental illness.”
Despite the fact that both of those statements are completely untrue, it is no wonder that schools are worried – they are relying on experts and the media to tell them the truth about e-cigarettes and tobacco harm reduction.
In New Zealand, some schools have installed cameras, trained on the entrances to student toilets, and have instructed staff to regularly walk into the areas.
Fortunately, despite a small growth in use, the United Kingdom is sticking with common-sense approaches grounded in the evidence. Teen smoking rates are at an all-time low and use of disposables by non-smoking teens remains incredibly small.