2022 Monitoring the Future Survey shows youth e-cigarette use up among 10th and 12th graders and daily use doubles for 8th graders as industry continues to thwart regulation
Statement of Robin Koval, CEO & President of Truth Initiative
The 2022 Monitoring the Future Survey (MTF) released today confirms that youth vaping remains a serious public health threat with noteworthy upticks among 10th and 12th graders and increases in daily use (30 days in the last month) across those who vape in all grades and doubling among 8th graders since 2020. Vaping nicotine remains the most common type of substance use among 8th and 10th graders.
These data are consistent with those published in the 2022 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) from CDC, which showed that 2.5 million middle and high school students reported current e-cigarette use and almost half of high schoolers who vape do so on a near daily basis. These rates underscore the persistence of the youth e-cigarette epidemic as tobacco companies keep flooding the market with cheap, youth appealing, flavored disposable e-cigarettes and popular brands remain easily accessible on shelves across the country. Simultaneously, the industry continues its efforts to aggressively thwart the will of voters, states and localities and FDA at every turn with lawsuits, lobbying and massive advertising campaigns designed to distract attention from their business building and profit protection programs.
The MTF survey, which tracks trends in substance use among nearly 50,000 students in 12th, 10th, and 8th grades, found that 1 in 5 (20.7%) 12th graders, 14.2% of 10th graders, and 7.1% of 8th graders reported vaping nicotine in the last 30 days. These rates mark a higher percentage of use for 10th and 12th graders than the previous year, signaling that the positive effects of public education and youth vaping cessation programs such as those offered by Truth Initiative and others are alone not enough to reverse the years long onslaught of aggressive industry targeting of young people. For example, Truth Initiative’s peer-reviewed research shows strong awareness of the nationally acclaimed truth® campaign is significantly associated with lower likelihood of vaping among 15- to 24-year-olds. Further research shows awareness of the truth brand, which offers a holistic suite of products and services to empower young people to live free from smoking, vaping, and nicotine addiction, is associated with lower odds of both current e-cigarette use and intention to vape in the future. Our evidence-based, first-of-its-kind, free quit vaping program This is Quitting, the largest in the country and the only one that has been validated by peer-reviewed research, is helping more than 500,000 young people on their journeys to quit vaping. Our digitally delivered, peer-led school curriculum, Vaping: Know the truth, has reached over 590,000 students in more than 7,700 schools across the country.
These efforts from public health organizations like ours, as well as the bold actions of many states and localities to remove flavored e-cigarettes and tobacco products from their local markets, are having an impact. But, we urgently need more states and localities to act, as well as stronger FDA regulations and enforcement to help put an end to this youth e-cigarette epidemic.
Today’s data come on the heels of recent news about JUUL’s agreements to settle litigation with states and other entities and the importance of using the reported total $1.2 billion in settlement funds to abate the harms caused by JUUL and the epidemic they ignited. JUUL paved the way for thousands of copycat products to enter the market, ultimately making regulatory processes untenable and allowing countless products to remain on the market illegally for years. While JUUL has dropped in popularity following restrictions enacted in 2020 on “closed-pod” vapes, use of disposable e-cigarette brands such as Puff Bar, Elf Bar, Hyde, and Vuse have skyrocketed, driven in large part by the broad availability and appeal of flavored products, including menthol, which are used by 84.9% of youth who vape. These products now make up more than 49% of the market, according to CDC Foundation data. It is critical that funds from JUUL settlements be used to protect the physical and mental health of a generation of young people and combat vaping nicotine as a top substance used by adolescents.
We urgently need the kind of evidence-proven, cost-effective prevention, education, and cessation programs that have become the hallmark of Truth Initiative along with stronger, swifter, and more assertive action from FDA and at the state and local level to remove flavors, restrict access, and limit aggressive marketing tactics. For more information on these programs visit truthinitiative.org
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