Youth vaping falls sharply for second year, new data shows

Youth vaping falls sharply for second year, new data shows
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Youth vaping falls sharply for second year, new data shows

Youth vaping falls sharply for second year, new data shows

According to the government’s annual National Youth Tobacco Survey, the use of electronic cigarettes among adolescents declined sharply in 2021, the second year in a row.

This year, 11.3 percent of high school students reported they are currently, down from 19.6 percent in 2020 and 27.5 percent reported in 2019, according to a survey report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .

Even with the decline, the survey found that more than 2 million high school and middle school students were currently using e-cigarettes. And because the decline occurred during the pandemic, some public health experts questioned whether the data really indicate a change in youth vaping trends over the long term.

E-cigarettes came to market in the United States in the early 2000s, promoted as devices designed to give smokers a nicotine fix without the carcinogens that come from burning cigarettes. But they began to catch on to teens who had never smoked, and in 2018, the Food and Drug Administration warned of an epidemic of vaping among teens who became addicted to nicotine via e-cigarettes.

Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, said in a statement that the new data remains concerning, particularly the popularity of flavored e-cigarettes, which were banned by the Trump administration but remained on the market in some form. are. A regulatory flaw. According to the report, about 85 percent of young e-cigarette users said they use flavored products. The most common flavors were fruit flavours, but also included candy, mint and menthol – consistent with previous years.

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“We are equally upset by the quarter of high school students who use e-cigarettes and say they vape every single day,” Mr. Zeller said, pointing to statistics that 27 percent of regular users are daily users.

The American Heart Association also expressed concern.

“Results suggest that the e-cigarette use crisis among youth remains highly alive, even as children spent large amounts of time at home during the pandemic,” the heart association said in a published statement. “With millions of children returning to school this fall, immediate action is needed to stop the sale of other tobacco products, including flavored e-cigarettes and menthol products.”

Another significant change was the decline in popularity of once-leading e-cigarette maker Juul, whose sleek devices helped start the youth vaping trend. After the FDA banned flavored pods in early 2020, Juul now only sells menthol and tobacco flavors.

The latest survey showed that Puff Bars, which sells a variety of flavors, is the most popular brand among youth, with 26 percent of regular high school e-cigarette users reporting Puff as “their generic brand.” . Other popular brands include Vousse and Smoke, while just 5.7 percent said their generic brand is Juul.

The change reflects a loophole in federal regulations that ban flavors for companies like Juul that sell pods, but allow flavors to be sold in disposable e-cigarettes. This drawback led to an increase in sales of disposables and a rise in popularity among disposable brands, especially Puff Bars.

In 2021, disposables were most commonly used by about 53 percent of youth using e-cigarettes, followed by refillable or prefilled cartridges at 28.7 percent. A year ago, those figures were essentially flipped, with the pre-filled pods and cartridge heads and disposables facing away from each other.

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The CDC and the FDA, which regulates e-cigarettes and tobacco products, emphasized that changes in data collection complicate year-to-year comparisons: in 2021, due to the pandemic, via online questionnaires. The youth’s feedback was collected entirely electronically. , whereas the data was previously conducted in classroom surveys.

These data have significant implications for policy decisions currently facing the FDA. The agency is deciding which companies can be allowed to remain on the market, following a review of whether companies can show that. They provide more public benefit – by helping smokers quit cigarettes – rather than harm, by creating a new generation of nicotine addicts.

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