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Survey: High school e-cigarette use declines to 10%

November 2, 2023

About 10% of high school students reported current use of e-cigarettes this year, down from 14.1% in 2022.

Despite the decline, e-cigarettes remain the most popular tobacco product among youths for the 10th consecutive year, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published today in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

“The decline in e-cigarette use among high school students shows great progress, but our work is far from over,” Deirdre Lawrence Kittner, Ph.D., M.P.H., director of CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, said in a press release. “Findings from this report underscore the threat that commercial tobacco product use poses to the health of our nation’s youth. It is imperative that we prevent youth from starting to use tobacco and help those who use tobacco to quit.” 

The new data come from the 2023 National Youth Tobacco Survey, which included a nationally representative sample of middle and high school students.

Nicotine found in tobacco products is known to be harmful to the developing brains of adolescents. Overall, 10% of middle and high school students (2.8 million) reported current use (past 30 days) of any tobacco product in 2023. About 12.6% of high school students reported current use, down from 16.5% in 2022. Among middle school students, about 6.6% reported current use this year, up from 4.5% last year.

About 7.7% of all students in the study reported current e-cigarette use while no other tobacco product use topped 2%. While high school e-cigarette use declined to 10%, middle school use was 4.6%, similar to last year.

Among students using e-cigarettes, about 25.2% use them daily and 34.7% reported frequent use (at least 20 of the past 30 days). 

 “These findings are concerning, because adolescents have reported symptoms of nicotine dependence when using tobacco products only 1-3 days per month,” authors wrote.

About 89.4% of e-cigarette users use flavored products. Disposable e-cigarettes are the most popular devices.

Health officials recommend tobacco prevention policies such as price increases, comprehensive smoke-free policies, counter-marketing campaigns and health care interventions. Earlier this year, the AAP released a policy statement, clinical report and technical report, each titled Protecting Children and Adolescents from Tobacco and Nicotine and continues to call on pediatricians and policymakers to take steps to prevent tobacco use.

 

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