In a sign that young people are not heeding the warnings about the dangers of smoking and vaping, a new study commissioned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than three million U.S. middle and high school students used some form of tobacco product within the previous 30 days in 2022.
The report revealed that one in four e-cigarette users vaped daily, and more than 40 percent said they vaped on at least 20 of the past 30 days.
These findings were part of a larger study, the National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS), which also found that more than 14 percent of high schoolers and 3.3 percent of middle schoolers use e-cigarettes. The majority chose flavored, disposable products, with fruit flavors being the overwhelming favorite among users.
“This is powerful evidence that kids are not just experimenting with e-cigarettes, but [are] becoming addicted to the high-nicotine products now dominating the market,” Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, told The Washington Post.
The FDA notes that tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of disease and death in the U.S. Earlier NYTS surveys showed vaping and tobacco use dropped among youth during the pandemic, but these results increased over the last year.
Anti-tobacco campaigners expressed dismay at the results, with Erika Sward, national assistant vice president for advocacy for the American Lung Association (ALA) telling The Post, “It’s clear we are going in the wrong direction with millions of kids vaping and more products than ever on the market.”
In addition to the dangers of tobacco use, a recent study suggests that teens who use e-cigarettes are over three times more likely to go on to use marijuana than those who don’t.
The study, published last summer in the journal JAMA Network Open, showed that adolescents who had never used marijuana at the beginning of the study were 3.2 times more likely to use cannabis if they also reported vaping nicotine products in the previous year.
So it’s important to keep kids from vaping. The American Heart Association offers these tips to parents.
Start talking to them about smoking and vaping in kindergarten. Be honest, and keep the conversation going as they get older.
-Prepare them to handle peer pressure.
-Don’t smoke or vape yourself.
-Establish a smoke-free home.