I've got a piece up at Time.com arguing that parents shouldn't get too upset at news that kids are trying e-cigarettes in increasing numbers. Here's the opening:
Suffer the little children: When they're not busy organizing rainbow parties, butt-chugging beer, home-brewing jenkem (look it up, preferably on an empty stomach), or dropping LSD and staring into the sun until they go blind, they are devising far-more pedestrian ways to freak out their parents.
The latest social panic related to the kids these days involves them – wait for it – experimenting with a safer alternative to smoking tobacco. What kind of monsters are we raising, exactly?
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that over the past couple of years the percentage of middle- and high-school students who have ever tried electronic cigarettes has doubled. That ostensibly shocking finding has led to a rush of frenzied stories breathlessly detailing how "teens could be on the way to a life-long addiction."
But before you drop your martini glass and start rifling through your kids' dresser drawers looking for their stash, take a deep, calming breath. Maybe hit the yoga studio. Go to your happy place. As with most worrying trends related to kids, there's much less here to worry about than it might seem at first blush.
Katherine Mangu-Ward covered the CDC report at Reason. Read her take here.