E-cigarette rates drop for high schoolers, but tobacco use jumps for middle schoolers, study shows

E-cigarette and tobacco use among high school students has decreased, while tobacco use among middle school students has increased across the United States.

According to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration, roughly half of students who had ever tried e-cigarettes reported currently using them — indicating that many youth who try e-cigarettes continue to use them.

The findings of the CDC and FDA study are based on the results of the 2023 National Youth Tobacco Survey. In the survey, students were asked if they had used tobacco products in the previous month.

Past 30-day use of any tobacco product among high school students fell from 16.5% to 12.6% from last year to this year. This decrease was primarily due to a decrease in e-cigarette use (from 14.1% to 10.0%).

According to the report, however, middle schooler tobacco use has increased significantly. Past 30-day use of at least one tobacco product increased from 4.5% to 6.6% among middle schoolers last year, while use of multiple tobacco products increased from 1.5% to 2.5%.

“The decline in e-cigarette use among high school students shows great progress, but our work is far from over,” said Deirdre Lawrence Kittner, director of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health.

“Findings from this report underscore the threat that commercial tobacco product use poses to the health of our nation’s youth,” he said. “It is imperative that we prevent youth from starting to use tobacco and help those who use tobacco to quit.”

E-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among middle and high school students for the tenth year in a row.

Approximately 25% of e-cigarette student users reported using e-cigarettes on a daily basis. In addition, nearly nine out of ten students smoked flavored e-cigarettes.

2.8 million (10%) middle and high school students reported current use of a tobacco product. In addition, 2.13 million students (7.7%) reported current e-cigarette use.

Cigarettes (1.6%), cigars (1.6%), nicotine pouches (1.5%), smokeless tobacco (1.2%), other oral nicotine products (1.2%), hookah (1.1%), heated tobacco products (1.0%), and pipe tobacco (0.5%) were the next most popular products.

Disposable e-cigarette devices were the most popular among young people. The most popular brands, on the other hand, included a mix of disposable and cartridge-based products.

The most commonly reported brands among students who currently used e-cigarettes were Elf Bar (56.7%), Esco Bars (21.6%), Vuse (20.7%), JUUL (16.5%), and Mr. Fog (13.6%).

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