The quantity of highschool college students recurrently utilizing e-cigarettes dropped considerably over the previous yr, after a number of years of hovering use, in response to a brand new authorities survey of youngsters.
However the knowledge recommended that even better progress could have been stymied by the rising recognition of a brand new product — disposable e-cigarettes, which, beneath a loophole in federal rules, are nonetheless allowed to be offered in youth-friendly flavors.
The shifting developments had been captured by the 2020 Nationwide Youth Tobacco Survey, an annual take a look at teen use of tobacco-related merchandise, administered by the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. This yr’s knowledge assortment was much less thorough than in years previous as a result of the coronavirus pandemic interrupted the complete survey cycle.
Nonetheless, sufficient knowledge was collected to point out some distinct developments. Amongst highschool college students, 19.6 % reported utilizing an e-cigarette no less than as soon as within the prior 30 days, down sharply from 27.5 % in 2019. That amounted to a decline of 1 million common customers — to three million, down from 4.1 million a yr earlier.
Self-reported use of e-cigarettes additionally decreased amongst center faculty college students, to 550,000 customers from 1.24 million. E-cigarette use had been rising constantly since 2011, although each teams noticed a dip between 2105 and 2016.
In an announcement, the C.D.C. director, Robert R. Redfield, referred to as the decline a “notable public well being achievement.” However, he cautioned: “Youth e-cigarette use stays an epidemic.”
This sharp decline displays a drumbeat of effort from public well being consultants to light up the dangers of e-cigarettes, mixed with a real-world lesson in these dangers: A minimum of 68 folks died and a couple of,807 had been hospitalized as of February of this yr from a lung-related illness linked to vaping, in response to the C.D.C.
Lots of these circumstances had been linked to vaping hashish merchandise that had been combined with a chemical referred to as vitamin E acetate, however some sufferers had vaped nicotine as nicely, and the mysterious sickness helped immediate state and federal actions aimed toward curbing teen use of vaping merchandise.
Ultimately the Trump administration instituted a ban on flavored e-cigarettes. It contained a loophole, nevertheless: Although the ban utilized to fashionable units like Juul which might be offered with replaceable cartridges, it nonetheless allowed the sale of flavored disposable e-cigarettes.
Gross sales of disposable flavored merchandise have since soared amongst teenagers utilizing e-cigarettes, the brand new survey confirmed — rising 1,000 %. In 2020, 26.5 % of normal highschool e-cigarette customers stated that they had used disposable merchandise over the past 30 days, in comparison with 2.Four % a yr earlier. Notably, eight in 10 youth customers stated they had been vaping “fruit and mint-flavored e-cigarettes,” in response to the C.D.C.
“The decline is sweet information, however it’s actually a historic alternative missed,” stated Matthew Myers, the president of the Marketing campaign for Tobacco-Free Youngsters. He stated extra vital modified might have occurred “if that they had banned all flavored merchandise. The truth that they didn’t meant children simply moved and didn’t give up.”