The 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey （NYTS） conducted by researchers from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pointed out that the number of young people using e-cigarettes has fallen by one third.
The school-based survey was conducted between January 16 and March 16, and it showed that 19.6% of high school students （3.02 million） reported using e-cigarettes, down from 27.5% （4.1 million） in 2019. The number of middle school students also fell, from 10.5% （1.24 million） in 2019 to 4.7% （550,000）。
However, even though the FDA points out that these promising numbers have increased sharply since 2011, the rate of e-cigarette smoking among young people is still relatively high, and 3.6 million young people are believed to be current users. In addition, the agency explained that data shows an alarming increase in the number of teenagers using disposable e-cigarettes.
The FDA added that more than 8 out of 10 teenage e-cigarette users use flavored e-cigarettes, and nearly 40% of high school users use e-cigarettes for 20 days or more a month, and nearly a quarter of them use e-cigarettes every day. Both use electronic cigarettes. The agency stated that all these factors indicate that young people are highly dependent on nicotine and that action is needed.
Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Children, said the drop shows that the seasoning ban is working. “This study highlights that flavored e-cigarettes, especially JUUL, has caused an epidemic of e-cigarette use and nicotine addiction among teenagers in the United States, and explains why the FDA and other policymakers must take immediate action to eliminate all flavored e-cigarettes. “He said.
US legislators are now paying more and more attention to disposable flavored electronic cigarettes left on the market, such as Puff Bar and pre-installed menthol bomb products. “It’s shocking that more than 7% of high school e-cigarette users write Puff Bar as their favorite brand, even though it was not mentioned in the survey,” Myers said.
A recent study by the University of Michigan showed that, as with past smoking, the main motivation for teenagers to smoke e-cigarettes is the “cool” factor of e-cigarette use, not the availability of flavors.
In addition, a new study of American high school students found that teenagers who are less satisfied with their lives and seek adventurous and exciting experiences are more likely to use multiple substances on a regular basis, including tobacco and e-cigarette products. In addition, this study found that participants’ attitudes towards e-cigarettes also reflected how they viewed other substances.
Other recent studies have found that personality factors and curiosity play a major role in inducing teenagers to start smoking e-cigarettes. This reflects the argument of tobacco harm reduction experts who have long pointed out that the existence of taste is not the main motivation for young people to start smoking e-cigarettes. Those who may smoke e-cigarettes will smoke without safer alternatives.
Another paper examining how young e-cigarette users obtain these devices found that most （57% of high school students and 59% of middle school students） get e-cigarettes from friends. A research team led by Teresa Wang of the Office of Smoking and Health of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that 85% and 74% of high school and middle school students like flavored e-cigarettes, respectively. Fruit-flavored e-cigarettes are the most popular, followed by mint-flavored e-cigarettes. In addition, the researchers pointed out that many students switch to disposable and refillable e-cigarettes.