Fewer Teens Are Vaping and Smoking, CDC Survey Finds

According to the report, e-cigarette use among high school students fell from 16 percent in 2015 to 11.3 percent in 2016.

Health officials have anxious about the booming popularity of vaping among children and the potential impact on future adult smoking rates.

Despite this good news on a national basis, the total tobacco product use for high school students (20.2 percent) is still too high and the patterns of youth tobacco use across the US remain very uneven.

"Tobacco use in any form, including e-cigarettes, is unsafe for youth", said Corinne Graffunder, the director of the CDC's Office on Smoking and Health. That's the first drop since the CDC started keeping track of e-cigarettes in 2011.

Between 2011 and 2016 overall tobacco use remained unchanged, the CDC's figures show, though the balance between products changed.

It's unclear why teen vaping fell a year ago, and it's too soon to know if the numbers will continue to drop. He said the agency has issued more than 4,000 warning letters to brick-and-mortar retailers and online sellers for selling tobacco products to minors.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has invested heavily in compelling, science-based campaigns to educate youth about the dangers of tobacco use.

Despite the decline in e-cigarette use, King said it is essential to reduce all tobacco use.

"While the number of high school students who use e-cigarettes is still too high, this rapid decline is a positive indicator that much youth e-cigarette use has been experimental and that the current offering of products may be less appealing to youth than feared", Robin Koval, the CEO and president of the Truth Initiative, said in a statement. Cigarette use among high school students fell during that period to 8 percent from 15.8 percent while use of cigars fell to 7.7 percent from 11.6 percent.

Research has found kids like to vape flavorings like strawberry and bubble gum, though often in nicotine-free versions.

For middle-schoolers, rates of e-cigarette use dropped as well. But health officials have warned that nicotine in e-cigarettes is harmful to developing brains. The e-cigarette industry, which includes small vaping businesses as well as the large tobacco companies, has said that the rules are onerous and will drive them out of business.

As well as whether the e-cig contains a nicotine or non-nicotine liquid, the level of DNA damage e-cigs causes also depends on the amount of vapour the user inhales and how many other additives are present. These annual surveys were given to American middle and high school students who voluntarily filled out the pencil and paper questionnaire.

In the 2015 Oregon Healthy Teens survey of 8th and 11th graders, e-cigarette use was commonly reported as the first tobacco product used among responding teens who now smoked cigarettes or used any tobacco product. Drop fueled a decrease in use of all tobacco products, report finds.

Based on the survey responses, the CDC estimates that the number of middle and high school students using tobacco products fell to 3.9 million last year, from 4.7 million the year before.

Cigarette use was higher among non-Hispanic whites than among non-Hispanic blacks; smokeless tobacco use was higher among non-Hispanic whites than other races. There was little change in the rate of middle school traditional cigarette smoking, which was 2.2 percent in 2016 compared to 2.3 percent in 2015.

"While these latest numbers are encouraging, it is critical that we work to ensure this downward trend continues over the long term across all tobacco products", said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.

For middle school students, about 5 percent said they'd recently vaped in 2015.

  • Joanne Flowers