No longer the hot new thing? Teen vaping falls, study says

Kristen Gonzales
June 17, 2017

NEW YORK (AP) — Teen vaping, which has been skyrocketing, fell dramatically past year in the United States. Among middle school students, 4.3 percent used e-cigarettes in 2016, down from 5.3 percent in 2015.

Health officials have anxious about the booming popularity of vaping among children and the potential impact on future adult smoking rates.

Although the data reflects a decline during 2015-2016, current use of any tobacco product did not change significantly during 2011-2016, because of the sharp increases in e-cigarettes and hookah during 2011-2014, according to the agencies. The results echo a University of MI survey that also detected a teen vaping decline in 2016.

Despite the decline, e-cigarettes remained the most commonly consumed tobacco product among youth for the third year in a row, used by 11.3% of high schoolers and 4.3% of middle schoolers.

The number who used traditional cigarettes fell to 1.4 million from 1.6 million.

"It's actually quite remarkable from a public health standpoint", says Brian King, deputy director for research translation in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Office on Smoking and Health, which produced the report. This decrease is the first since 2011 says the CDC.

The findings echo a recent University of MI survey, which also detected a decline in 2016.

It's unclear why teen vaping fell, and it's too soon to know if the numbers will keep dropping.

More news: Katy Perry now has 100 million Twitter followers, except not really

In 2014, the FDA launched "The Real Cost" campaign, its first youth tobacco prevention campaign, which has helped prevent almost 350,000 kids from smoking cigarettes, and continues to enforce important youth access restrictions, according to Gottlieb. Some evidence also shows that e-cigarettes use can also lead young adults to use other forms of tobacco, alcohol or other drugs.

She also said that the rapid decline in e-cigarettes among high schoolers suggests much of that use "has been experimental and that the current offering of products may be less appealing" than had once been feared.

Despite this good news on a national basis, the total tobacco product use for high school students (20.2 percent) is still too high and the patterns of youth tobacco use across the US remain very uneven. Some also worry the devices could hook a new generation on nicotine, which is addictive, thus leading more to start smoking regular cigarettes.

While e-cigarettes are believed to be less unsafe than smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes, their popularity has sparked an intense debate over benefits and harms.

"Although e-cigarette aerosol generally contains less harmful ingredients than secondhand smoke, it is not harmless; safer is not the same thing as safe", King said by email. Only six students from the body of thousands that participated switched from vaping to smoking cigarettes, while 20 students who began the study as smokers transitioned to vaping. "They are the most commonly used tobacco products among youth in the US, with more than 2.2 million youths using them".

In 2016, one in five high school students and one in 14 middle school students reported current use of a tobacco product on one or more days in the past 30 days.

The number of teenagers using e-cigarettes fell from 3 million in 2015 to 2.2 million in 2016, according to a report published Thursday in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. That has been the case for three consecutive years, he said.

In 2016, the most commonly used products among middle school students after e-cigarettes were: cigarettes (2 percent), cigars (2 percent), smokeless tobacco (2 percent), hookah (2 percent), pipe tobacco (0.7 percent), and bidis (0.3 percent).

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER