Vaping among teenagers is still a problem in the United States. In 2018, one in five high school students admitted to using an e-cigarette.
In a recent report, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the National Cancer Institute investigated the prevalence of the use of tobacco products among the youth. They analyzed the data provided by the National Youth Tobacco Survey from 2011 to 2018.
Tobacco Use Among Teens On The Rise
Tobacco is still the leading cause of preventable diseases and death in the United States. However, the use of tobacco products continues to be prevalent among the youth.
While the number of middle and high school students who use any tobacco products did not significantly increase over the past seven years, the report by public health officials confirmed that vaping, the use of e-cigarettes, increased 77.8 percent among high school students and 48.5 percent among middle school students during 2017 to 2018.
From 11.7 percent, the rate of use of e-cigarettes among high school students rose to 20.8 percent. Meanwhile, the number of middle school students who admitted to vaping rose from 3.3 percent to 4.9 percent.
According to the CDC's own estimates, one in five high school students and one in 14 middle school students across the United States currently use e-cigarettes.
While generally regarded as a safer option compared to cigarettes, e-cigarettes are still considered tobacco products and carry a number of health risks. Previous studies also found that those who used e-cigarettes in their youths are more likely to smoke tobacco cigarettes as an adult.
The recent findings of the investigation, the CDC said, is consistent with the increase in popularity of JUUL, a USB-shaped e-cigarette device that is high in nicotine and is available in different flavors. A single pod of JUUL contains as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes.
The JUUL e-cigarettes appeal to younger users not just because of the flavor option, but also because it is very discreet. In fact, previous media reports revealed that students use the product in schools.
The E-Cigarette Epidemic
As a response to the increasing underage e-cigarette users, the FDA has started carrying out measures that make the product a lot less accessible. In November, the agency said that it will place heavy restrictions on the sale of flavored pods in stores.
"These new data show that America faces an epidemic of youth e-cigarette use, which threatens to engulf a new generation in nicotine addiction," stated Alex Azar, secretary of the Health and Human Services. "By one measure, the rate of youth e-cigarette use almost doubled in the last year, which confirms the need for FDA's ongoing policy proposals and enforcement actions."