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E-cigarette use increased among middle and high schoolers

In a recent study, trends of e-cigarette use among middle and high schoolers saw an increase in recent years.

E-cigarette use has increased among United States middle and high school students, creating a critical issue that must be addressed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

E-cigarettes have been the largest use of tobacco among middle and high school students since 2014, leading to concerns over nicotine addiction, which can damage developing brains and cause further drug addictions. A spike in e-cigarette use was observed from 2019 to 2020, and in 2021 e-cigarettes were the most common device type for teenagers and adolescents.

The CDC partnered with the US Food and Drug Administration to gather and analyze data from the 2022 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS). The NYTS took place from January 18, 2022, to May 31, 2022, and was a self-administered, cross-sectional survey students answered through a web-based program administered by their school.

Middle schoolers grades 6 to 8 and high schoolers grades 9 to 12 participated in the survey, about 99% taking it in school and about 1% taking it at home through remote learning. E-cigarette use frequency, device type, flavors, and brands were analyzed.

E-cigarette use was reported by about 14% of high school students and about 3% of middle school students. About 42% of e-cigarette users reported frequent use, making up 46% of high school students and about 21% of middle school students. E-cigarettes were used daily by about 28% of users, making up about 30% of high school students and about 11% of middle school students.

Disposables were the most frequently used e-cigarette type, with about 57% of high school students and about 46% of middle school students using them. Prefilled or refillable pods followed at about 26% of high school students and about 22% of middle school students.

Tanks or mod systems were used by about 6% of high school students and about 10% of middle school students. About 11% of high school students and nearly 23% of middle school students did not know what type of e-cigarette they used.

Brands from most common to least common include: Puff Bar (29.7%), Vuse (23.6%), JUUL (22.0%), SMOK (13.5%), NJOY (8.3%), Hyde (7.3%),and blu (6.5%). Flavored cigarettes were preferred by about 85% of users, with the most popular being fruit (69.1%), followed by candy or other sweets (38.3%), mint (29.4%), and methanol (26.6%).

Disposed cigarettes had similar trends in flavors. The most popular was fruit (75.2%), followed by candy or other sweets (40.4%), mint (29.6%), and methanol (16.7%). For pods or cartridges, trends were slightly different, with 58.4% being fruit, 53.9% methanol, 30.3% candy or other sweets, and 27.6% mint.

Over 2.5 million high school and middle school students in the United States have used e-cigarettes in 2022. Investigators stressed the need for comprehensive tobacco prevention and control strategies be implemented at national, state, and local levels.

Reference

Cooper M, Park-Lee E, Ren C, Cornelius M, Jamal A, Cullen KA. Notes from the field: e-cigarette use among middle and high school students — united states, 2022. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2022;71(40):1283–1285. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm7140a3