2023 Monitoring the Future Survey Shows Encouraging Declines in Youth E-Cigarette Use and Increased Risk Perception Among High Schoolers
Statement from Kathy Crosby, Truth Initiative CEO and President
The findings shared in the 2023 Monitoring the Future Survey (MTF) are encouraging, highlighting notable decreases in e-cigarette use among high school students. The data show a significant decline from 27.3% to 23.2% among 12th graders and from 20.5% to 17.6% among 10th graders in the past year. Meanwhile, 8th grade use remained relatively stable at 11.4%. These findings align with 2023 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) released earlier this year, reinforcing the positive trend. The MTF survey also reports a statistically significant increase in risk perception associated with nicotine for both 10th and 12th graders, and a notably increased disapproval of vaping among 10th graders. These developments suggest that public education initiatives such as the truth® campaign may be making a positive impact. However, concerns arise as 8th graders show a downward trend in awareness of the risks posed by nicotine, emphasizing the importance of comprehensive youth education on the dangers and long-term consequences of vaping nicotine. It’s essential to note that nicotine harms developing adolescent brains and makes young people more susceptible to addiction.
Despite the decline in high school student usage, the persistence of teen e-cigarette use remains a serious public health threat. Collectively, the MTF and NYTS data emphasize the ongoing necessity of aiding current users in quitting nicotine products. The MTF data indicate that 16.9% of 12th graders, 11.9% of 10th graders, and 7.1% of 8th graders have used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days. Daily use among 12th graders is 5.6%, 2.4% for 10th graders, and 1.4% for 8th graders, putting them at risk for a lifetime of nicotine addiction. 2023 NYTS data show that among all middle and high students surveyed who currently use e-cigarettes, one in four (25.2%) vape nicotine daily. Both surveys signal teen nicotine dependence and the need for interventions to prevent the risk of lifetime nicotine addiction. Truth Initiative continues its support for young people with programs like This is Quitting, the free and anonymous text message quit vaping program from truth that offers science-based assistance. A randomized clinical trial published in JAMA Internal Medicine revealed that young adults aged 18-24 who utilized This is Quitting had nearly a 40% higher likelihood of quitting compared to a control group. Helping more than 670,000 young people on their journey to quit vaping nicotine, This is Quitting is the largest quit vaping program in the country. In addition to reaching youth and young adults directly, it also provides customized support to states and local communities to further reach and help young people nationwide.
Additionally, truth’s free digital curriculum designed for middle and high school students, Vaping: Know the Truth, is making a significant impact. This curriculum equips young people with the facts about the risks of e-cigarette use and seamlessly connects to This is Quitting for those looking to quit vaping. It offers a comprehensive resource that is reaching more than one million students nationwide.
Moreover, the survey reveals that perceived ease of access to e-cigarettes remains high. Although there were no significant changes from 2022, there were slight upticks among 10th and 12th graders, with 75.6% of 12th graders and 54.7% of 10th graders believing that obtaining vaping products is fairly easy or very easy Perceptions among 8th graders remained relatively steady at 34.1%. These findings align with a recent Truth Initiative study published in Tobacco Control indicating that e-cigarettes have become bigger, stronger, cheaper, and more accessible over time. The evolution of the market underscores the urgent need to remove youth-enticing flavors, including menthol, and impose restrictions on young people's access to these highly addictive nicotine products.
Nicotine use among youth and young adults carries the risk of lifelong addiction. It remains paramount to act in the best interest of our nation’s youth, including ongoing public education, providing proven-effective cessation services, and taking strong federal action on all youth-appealing flavored tobacco and nicotine products. For more information on how to join the effort to combat youth and young adult nicotine addiction, visit truthinitiative.org.
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