As reported here last week, University of California-San Francisco researchers Lauren Dutra and Stanton Glantz tortured data from the National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) to support a purported “lack of a demonstrable acceleration in the long-term rate of decline” in youth smoking after 2009. This was despite the fact the survey data showed that smoking among high school students declined from almost 16 percent in 2011 to 9 percent in 2014 – a reduction of 43 percent in just three years.

The “untortured” NYTS findings can be confirmed by charting data from another federal survey: the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), which I have used for smoking research for many years.

Once again, I used 2010 as the anchor year for equal intervals before widespread e-cigarette use (2006-2010) and after (2010-2014, the latest year for public access of NSDUH data). I tallied smoking rates among boys and girls age 14-18 years, which is comparable to high school students in the NYTS. The definition of a current smoker is also the same in the two surveys: anyone who smoked on at least one day in the past 30.

Smoking Boys Girls 2006-14 NSDUH

The accompanying chart clearly illustrates that smoking declined among boys (-13 percent) and girls (-20 percent) from 2006 to 2010. However, during the next four years, the rate of decline doubled, to  -31 percent for boys and -41 percent for girls.

Findings from both federal surveys are consistent: The decline in smoking among high school students accelerated as demonstrably safer e-cigarette use increased.

Image by Aimorn1992

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