Despite the best efforts of experts, the progress in the battle against tobacco harm remains painfully slow. Teen smoking rates are at all-time lows but the sad fact remains that almost half, 48%, of non-smoking teens are still being exposed to second hand smoke on a regular basis. CNN reported the results from the 2103 National Youth Tobacco Survey.

The study included 18,000 adolescents from grades 6 to 12 in both private and public schools. The students completed questionnaires and were asked if they had been around tobacco smoke in the previous seven days. A stunning 48% exported having been exposed to second hand smoke in the week prior to the survey.

Fifty percent of children are within proximity to second hand smoke at least once a week, once too often for developing lungs to be exposed to dangerous carcinogens.

Of the teens who had been exposed to second hand smoke, 35% of the occasions were in public areas including restaurants. Another 27% at work and 17% at school. 15% experienced second hand smoke at home and another 15% in a vehicle. Girls were more likely than boys the be around second hand smoke.

Second Hand Smoke Remains A Threat

The fight to reduce tobacco harm is far from over. Brian King from the CDC admitted as much but solutions seem hard to come by. Many are talking about increasing the smoking age as a possible solution. Others want more bans. Dr. Karen Wilson, associate professor of pediatrics at the Colorado Children’s Hospital, said “I thought smoking bans on campus were a bit more effective than they are. Schools need to look at their bans and see what they need to be more effective.”

Despite the obvious shortcomings and failures of anti-smoking groups and attempting to legislate, we still have a long way to go to reduce tobacco harm. It is long past due that tobacco control groups, special interests and public health agencies start recognizing that we need more answers and more options now. The war on ecigs is unproductive and unwarranted.

Even though less people are smoking and turning to vapes, second hand cigarette smoke still remains a health problem.

While the CDC maintains a hard line against vaping, their own data, these are vape facts based on CDC ecigarette data, shows that people are quitting smoking with ecigs. Yet rather than recognizing the potential of technology to be a significant partner in tobacco harm reduction, the CDC and others fall back into familiar patterns of recommending bans and prohibition in hopes of eliminating ecigs as an option for weary, addicted smokers.

We have a major smoking problem on our hands and having our tax payer funded agencies turn their backs on a less harmful option makes no sense. Not every problem can be solved with bans and restrictions. It’s time we saddle up and confront these problems head on. Ecigs are a technology that can save lives. In the UK, they get it. It’s about time we get with the program.