Half of children who try vaping become addicted, according to a major CDC analysis showing that millions of students use e-cigarettes.
The agency’s annual youth tobacco survey found that in 2023, nearly eight percent of middle and high school students – about 2.1 million children – were currently using e-cigarettes, down slightly from 2.55 million in 2022.
But now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 47 percent of children who have ever tried an e-cigarette are currently smoking.
E-cigarettes with appealing flavors such as cotton candy and crème brûlée have captivated millions of young people. The latest data shows that about 90 percent of them reported using a fruit or candy flavored product.
Dr. Deirdre Lawrence Kittner, the CDC’s director of smoking and health, said the decline among high school students represents “great progress,” but noted that the agency’s work to combat e-cigarette use among youth ” is still far from complete.”
E-cigarette use among high school students has declined significantly over the past year, indicating progress in curbing teen use
E-cigarette use among middle school students has increased rapidly over the past year
In 2023, over 6.2 million school-age children tried tobacco products such as e-cigarettes, cigarettes, and smokeless tobacco.
Of those who have tried e-cigarettes, about 47 percent vape to date and about 25 percent vape daily, about the same rate as last year.
The frequency with which high school students vaped fell by about 29 percent as of 2022, a promising sign tempered by the fact that e-cigarette use among middle school students increased by nearly 40 percent.
The CDC’s Annual Youth Tobacco Survey is a nationally representative sample of tobacco use, and trends over the past four years have shown that while the number of young people smoking cigarettes is at an all-time low, more and more young people are switch to electric cars.
Of the ten percent of students who said they currently use a tobacco product, almost eight percent got their nicotine needs through e-cigarettes.
The 2023 survey results suggest that e-cigarettes still pose a major public health problem, although use among high school-aged people is declining.
The drop from 14.1 percent (2.14 million) to 10 percent is promising, but it doesn’t negate the fact that 1.5 million high school students are still addicted.
Dr. Brian King, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, said: “It is encouraging to see this significant decline in e-cigarette use among high school students over the past year, which is a win for public health.” But we can’t rest on our laurels. There is still much work to be done to build on this progress.”
The results of the survey of middle school students specifically indicate that a major problem is getting worse.
Nearly seven percent of middle school students currently use tobacco, up from 4.5 percent last year. And of those, around seven percent and 4.6 percent currently use e-cigarettes.
Dr. Kittner said, “The findings of this report underscore the threat that commercial tobacco use poses to the health of our nation’s youth.” “It is imperative that we prevent youth from starting tobacco use and help those who use tobacco do so to stop.”
In 2019, the federal government took an important step to stem the tide of nicotine addiction among young people by raising the tobacco purchasing age from 18 to 21.
The Food and Drug Administration, which has the authority to review companies’ applications to market their tobacco products, said in March that it reviewed 99 percent of nearly 26 million applications from e-cigarette manufacturers to sell their products and only 23 of them had approved.
But anti-smoking advocates believe the government can and should do more to prevent young people from buying and using e-cigarettes.
Matthew Myers, former president and CEO of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and a vocal critic of the government’s crackdown, has told DailyMail.com in the past that the current youth e-cigarette crisis is the result of a “combination of shyness and fear “The tobacco industry is fighting regulation at every stage.”
The vast majority of teen vapers chose fruit or candy flavored vape products in 2023
The maximum permitted nicotine content in an e-cigarette is set at 20 milligrams of nicotine per milliliter of liquid (two percent) in Europe, Great Britain and Canada. These devices are sufficient for around 550 to 600 trains. In the US, it’s fairly easy to find a device or pod that contains up to 5 percent nicotine
Among the regulations that anti-smoking and e-cigarette advocates have fought so hard for is a nationwide cap on the amount of nicotine allowed in e-cigarettes.
The maximum permitted nicotine content in a vape is set at 20 milligrams of nicotine per milliliter of liquid (two percent) in Europe, Great Britain and Canada. These devices are sufficient for around 550 to 600 trains.
But in the United States, where you can easily find an e-cigarette vaporizer with up to five percent nicotine, these concentrations have been steadily increasing for some time. An Elf Bar BC5000 device, which contains five percent nicotine, holds about 5,000 puffs.
It’s no surprise that children can become addicted to the powerful hit of nicotine that e-cigarettes contain within just a few days.
And flavors like cotton candy and strawberry lemonade in highly addictive e-cigarettes further exacerbate the problem.
Nearly nine in 10 teen vapers in 2023 used the flavored products that advocates and many lawmakers have sought to ban with poor results, as evidenced by the fact that children’s use of flavored products increased from 83 percent in 2020 .
Despite the government’s efforts to crack down on companies marketing their products to children, the industry is still raking in gold. A market research firm called Beyond Market Insights estimated the industry’s total value to be over $22 billion in 2022. It is expected to reach $169 billion by 2030.