About 2.55 million middle and high school students currently use e-cigarettes, according to a new study.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced Thursday it is removing some of the most popular e-cigarettes among youths from the market.
“It's clear that we still have a serious public health problem that threatens the years of progress we have made combatting youth tobacco product use," FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, M.D., said in a news release. "We cannot and will not let our guard down on this issue.”
The data come from the 2022 National Youth Tobacco Survey, which was administered to students earlier this year and reported by the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Health officials found about 14% of high school students and 3% of middle school students were current e-cigarette users, meaning they had used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days. Nearly 28% of the adolescents using e-cigarettes did so daily, according to the report. The ability to compare the findings to previous years is limited due to differences in the way the survey was administered during the COVID-19 pandemic.
About 85% of adolescent e-cigarette users used flavored e-cigarettes with the most common being fruit, candy/desserts, mint and menthol.
“This study shows that our nation’s youth continue to be enticed and hooked by an expanding variety of e-cigarette brands delivering flavored nicotine,” CDC Office on Smoking and Health Director Deirdre Lawrence Kittner, Ph.D., M.P.H., said in a news release.
The nicotine contained in most e-cigarette products is harmful to the developing brain and highly addictive. In late 2019, the legal age to purchase tobacco products including e-cigarettes was raised to 21 years. In early 2020, officials removed some flavored e-cigarettes from the market but exempted menthol and tobacco flavors and all flavors in disposable e-cigarettes.
The new data show just over half of adolescent e-cigarette users typically use a disposable device, while about one-quarter use a prefilled or refillable pod/cartridge. The most common brands adolescents typically used were Puff Bar followed by Vuse and Hyde.
The FDA said Thursday it has issued a warning letter to two companies doing business as Puff Bar for delivering e-cigarettes without marketing authorization. It also rejected marketing applications for 32 Hyde e-cigarettes and is ordering them to be pulled from the market. Earlier this year, it denied marketing applications for multiple flavored Vuse e-cigarettes.
“FDA is actively working to identify violations and to swiftly seek corrective actions, particularly for products popular among youth,” FDA Center for Tobacco Products Director Brian King, Ph.D., M.P.H. said in a news release. “We will use all compliance and enforcement tools available to us, as appropriate, to protect our nation’s youth."
- Information from the AAP on tobacco control and prevention
- AAP policy E-Cigarettes and Similar Devices
- AAP policy Clinical Practice Policy to Protect Children From Tobacco, Nicotine, and Tobacco Smoke
- Information for parents from HealthyChildren.org about e-cigarettes
- Surgeon general’s interactive website about e-cigarettes geared toward parents and others who work with youths
- FDA’s The Real Cost campaign