Decline in E-cigarette Use Among High School Students, but Middle School Sees Increase in Tobacco Product Use, New Study Reveals

Decline in E-cigarette Use Among High School Students, but Middle School Sees Increase in Tobacco Product Use, New Study Reveals

In a recent study released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it was found that the use of tobacco products among high school students has decreased, while middle school students have shown an increase in tobacco product use during the 2022-2023 academic year.

High School Trends:

The study shows that among high school students, the use of any tobacco product in the past 30 days dropped from 16.5% to 12.6%. This decline was mainly driven by a decrease in e-cigarette use, which went from 14.1% to 10.0%. There were also decreases in the use of combustible tobacco products, including cigars.

Middle School Trends:

In contrast, middle school students experienced a rise in the use of at least one tobacco product (from 4.5% to 6.6%) and the use of multiple tobacco products (from 1.5% to 2.5%) during the same period. However, no significant changes were reported for individual tobacco product types, including e-cigarettes.

E-cigarettes Still a Concern:

E-cigarettes have been the most commonly used tobacco product among both middle and high school students for the 10th consecutive year. Approximately half of the students who have tried e-cigarettes continue to use them, with a quarter reporting daily use. Notably, almost 9 in 10 students who use e-cigarettes prefer flavored options.

Deirdre Lawrence Kittner, Director of CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, commented, “The decline in e-cigarette use among high school students shows great progress, but our work is far from over.” She emphasized the ongoing threat that tobacco product use poses to the health of the nation’s youth.

Key Findings:

  • 2.8 million (10%) middle and high school students reported current use of a tobacco product in 2023.
  • 7.7% of students reported current e-cigarette use in 2023.
  • The most commonly used e-cigarette device type among youth was disposable products.
  • Popular e-cigarette brands included Elf Bar, Esco Bars, Vuse, JUUL, and Mr. Fog.

Concerns and Solutions:

The study underscores the health risks associated with youth tobacco product use, including nicotine addiction and potential long-term health consequences. Influencing factors such as flavors, marketing, and misperceptions of harm need to be addressed.

The report highlights the importance of continued monitoring of youth tobacco product use behaviors and a comprehensive approach to prevent and address tobacco use among youth. Proven prevention policies, including price increases, smoke-free policies, counter-marketing campaigns, and healthcare interventions, remain crucial in reducing youth initiation and addressing tobacco-related disparities.