By: Elizabeth Sheld featuring IWF Staff Julie Gunlock

New data from tobacco company Altria reveals that older vapers are returning to their deadly cigarette habit. The switch follows a months long media ambush driven by well-funded “grassroots” anti-vaping efforts. States began regulating retail e-cigarette outlets, often banning vape devices, making the products difficult to access.

Older smokers who had switched to e-cigarettes are turning back to traditional cigarettes because of negative news coverage and regulatory crackdowns on vaping, Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc. said Thursday.

However, as Julie Gunlock writes at the Independent Women’s Forum, “the 78 percent figure is only possible because the CDC defines ‘current e-cigarette use,’ as any teen who vaped once in a 30-day period. Vaping once, twice, even five times a month does not make one a habitual e-cigarette user.”

The real number of habitual high school teen vapers is much lower at about 5.7%. Additionally, the number of high schoolers using dangerous combustible tobacco cigarettes is at an all-time low.

All these developments leave adults who use e-cigarettes to abstain from deadly combustible tobacco out in the cold. In the U.S., cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year. E-cigarettes are a critical and effective tool for smokers to quit their combustible tobacco habit and vaping is 95% safer than using cigarettes as a nicotine delivery system.

Combustible tobacco use has been steadily trending downwards. In the last 5 years, the rate of tobacco use among adults has dropped 22 percent and among youth the drop is even more dramatic: 44 percent. But now that state and federal regulations have made it harder for people to quit and for quitters to continue their path of abstention, those numbers might very well begin to rise.