Fewer teens are vaping, say the FDA and CDC. But here’s what you need to know
Photo above by Nery Zarate via Unsplash.
Fewer high schoolers are using e-cigarettes, according to a new survey by the FDA and CDC. The study found the number of high school kids vaping decreased in one year from 14% to 10%. That’s down from a peak of 25% in 2019.
This is attributed in part to warnings, penalties, and injunctions for manufacturers of illegal e-cigarette products, as well as retail blitzes over the summer.
But the director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, Dr. Brian King, told Kidsburgh’s Kristine Sorensen that parents should be aware of what new e-cigarettes look like.
“Some of them resemble common everyday objects such as highlighters or electronic systems or some of them have cartoon characters on it,” he said. “And so it’s important that adults keep up to date on what these products are, and also the brands that are most commonly used among kids.”
The new survey, collected between March and June of 2023, found more than half of the young people who use e-cigarettes use the brand Elf Bar, and nearly all, 89.4%, used flavored products with fruit, candy, mint and menthol as the most common flavors.
“Flavors are a key driver,” Dr. King says. “The advertising will lead a horse to water, the flavors get them to drink, and the nicotine keeps them coming back for more. So there’s a variety of factors that are influencing youth use of these products, but flavors are a key driver. Based on our data today, we did see that 90% of kids who are using e-cigarettes report using flavored varieties.”
The survey did find a small increase in middle schoolers using e-cigarettes.
Dr. King says that shows the FDA can’t let up on messaging to young people that nicotine is a highly addictive drug that can have a lasting impact on the developing adolescent brain.
For more information on preventing and stopping kids from using tobacco products, the FDA has more information here.