New survey data shows that more than 2.5 million U.S. youth vape, with nearly all drawn to flavored nicotine
By Jennifer Taylor
Despite recent actions to try to snuff out underage e-cigarette use—proposed flavor bans in some states, a national proposed menthol ban, and federal age restriction on the purchase of such products—U.S. teens are still vaping at an alarming rate.
Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released federal data from the 2022 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) on e-cigarette use among U.S. youth, and it revealed things haven’t improved much since the last survey in 2021. A report released showed more than 2.5 million middle school and high school students in the had used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days. That means one in 10 youths are vaping. The numbers broke down to 14.1% (2.14 million) of high school students and 3.3% (380,000) of middle school students reporting current e-cigarette use.
“The latest NYTS figures confirm what parents across this country have known all along—millions of kids continue using flavored e-cigarettes … a clear sign of nicotine addiction,” Meredith Berkman, founder of Parents Against Vaping e-cigarettes (PAVe), said in a statement.
“Millions of families across the country whose lives have been upended by youth e-cigarette addiction have waited long enough for FDA to act. We urge the agency to remove all flavored products from the market immediately.”—PAVe statement
The survey also showed that the most common device used by youths is a disposable one, and nearly 85% of e-cigarettes used are laced in fruit flavors (the most popular), followed by candy, desserts and other sweets.
Frequency of vaping also remains a concern. More than a quarter (27.6%) of current youth e-cigarette users partake every day. And more than four in 10 youth e-cigarette users report vaping in at least 20 of the previous 30 days. Current users also reported their brands of choice: Puff Bar (14.5%), Vuse (12.5%), Hyde (5.5%) and SMOK (4%).
Teen Vaping Remains Unresolved
Advocate groups such as PAVe continue to press the FDA to ban all flavors of nicotine including menthol. Next month, voters in California will have the opportunity to vote, again on the issue, to uphold the state’s ban on flavored tobacco (Senate Bill 793) that passed in 2020.
“Millions of families across the country whose lives have been upended by youth e-cigarette addiction have waited long enough for FDA to act,” the PAVe statement said in response to the released survey. “We urge the agency to remove all flavored products from the market immediately. … Until FDA takes decisive action to protect our kids from the predatory behavior of the tobacco industry, there is no chance of ending this crisis.”