The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's report specifically mentioned the giant electronic cigarette Juul as a contributing factor to the rate hike.
"At the end of the day, we have extremely disturbing news about the fight against tobacco in children," said Brian King, deputy director of the CDC's Office of Smoking and Health and co-author of the report.
King said the increase in vaping emissions was the largest increase in the use of a tobacco product by teens since the start of the survey in 1999.
King and colleagues analyzed data from the 2011-18 National Youth Smoking Survey to estimate trends in high school and college students. They also found that in 2018, 27% of high school students and 7.2% of college students had reported using or several days in the month.
Of all tobacco products, including cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and narghile, electronic cigarettes – also known as vapes – were the ones most used by teenagers; 3.05 million or 20.8% of high school students and 570,000 or 4.9% of college students said they were vaping at least once the previous month. In addition, there were 1.5 million more teenagers using electronic cigarettes in 2018 compared to 2017.
The researchers also found no significant changes in the current use of tobacco products fuels by teens, other than electronic cigarettes, which resulted in the overall increase in tobacco use among youth. In particular, no decrease in the use of other tobacco products has been identified.
Before 2018, the use of electronic cigarette in high schools had peaked in 2015 with 16% of students in vaping. The consumption of electronic cigarettes decreased for the first time in the history of the survey by 29% in 2016. This decline was maintained until 2017. However, in 2017-18 it has jumped 77.8% among high school students and 48.5%. among college students, the erasure of previous declines.
Vape epidemic linked to Juul
The report points out that the rise of vapors coincided with Juul's growing popularity on the market. "It's no coincidence that we have seen a sharp increase in Juul sales," King said. From 2016 to 2017, Juul sales increased by about 600%, a trend that continued until 2018.
"We are determined to fight against the use of vaping products by minors, including JUUL products," Juul spokeswoman Victoria Davis said in a statement on Monday. She pointed out that the CDC data had been presented last fall and that since then the company had put in place a plan to reduce the use of minors. he "ended the sale of flavored juulpod to retail stores, enhanced our online age verification system and [is] continually strives to remove inappropriate content from third-party social media. "
King stated that he and his colleagues had found that the overall consumption of tobacco products had not only increased but was increasing in frequency. From 2017 to 2018, the percentage of high school students who switched from current users of electronic cigarettes, using at least once in the past 30 days, to heavy users, or using 20 or more times in the last 30 days, it went from 20% to 27.7%.
The number of teenagers who used multiple tobacco products was also troubling. Of a total of 4.04 million high school students and 840,000 high school students using any product, about two in five high school students and one in three high school students used two or more . The most common combination was the electronic cigarette and the traditional fuel cigarette.
Federal Agencies Attack Electronic Cigarettes
As a result of the strong increase in teenage vaping, the US Food and Drug Administration has announced new restrictions on e-cigarette sales in November, including the restriction of sales of flavored electronic cigarettes to locations subject to a borderline restriction. age and requiring advanced age verification processes for online sales. .
And in December, the American surgeon general issued a call for action on the health consequences of e-cigarette use by teens, which had already been declared an epidemic.
Last week, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb sent letters to the CEOs of Juul and the Altria tobacco company, asking for a meeting to discuss the youth vaping epidemic and the implications of the Altria 's recent $ 13 billion stake in Juul.
"I have no reason to believe that these modes of use by young people are mitigating in the short term, and they certainly do not seem to be overturning." The manufacturers have independent responsibility for their use. act to combat the epidemic of use of their products by young people, "he said. added.
Although the new report indicates a strong increase in the consumption of electronic cigarettes, it has not been observed at all levels among high school and college students. The vaping was the tobacco product most used by white and Hispanic high school students, but cigars were more prevalent among black high school students.
"It's important to note that there are variants," King said. "We do not want to play Whack-A-Mole public health, we want all forms of smoking to decline."
It's not hard to make sure we're going in that direction, he said. "We do not need to reinvent the wheel, we just need to grease the creaky wheel." He referred to interventions such as the minimum age increase for tobacco sales, as did several states, and the inclusion of the electronic cigarette in the US. education and tobacco control efforts.