Nearly one-third of all American high school students used e-cigarettes in 2019, new CDC data show
As the deadline for e-cigarette manufacturers to submit applications to keep their products on the market approaches in just weeks, new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention underscore the severity of the youth vaping epidemic.
Almost a third of high school students (32.7%) reported being current vapers and about a third of those (32.6%) reported frequent use, meaning they vaped at least 20 times a month, according to the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance from the CDC. More than half (50.1%) had ever tried e-cigarettes, which continue to drive overall tobacco use to levels unseen in years. The survey reports a significant increase in any tobacco product use – meaning use at least once in the past 30 days – from 19.5% in 2017 to 36.5% in 2019.
These new data are consistent with other national surveys that have reported similarly alarming increases in overall tobacco use, driven by e-cigarettes. The 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey reported that 27.5% of high schoolers were using e-cigarettes, 21.4% of whom reporting use on a daily basis. Current e-cigarette use more than doubled among high school students (from 11.7% to 27.5%) and tripled among middle school students (from 3.3% to 10.5%) from 2017 to 2019.
“These new data underscore the severity of the youth e-cigarette epidemic and in fact, show an even worse picture than other CDC data released last year,” said Robin Koval, CEO and President of Truth Initiative. “With one third of high school students vaping and many of them doing so almost every day, this latest information should ring alarms bells at FDA that we must get all flavored products off the market and close the loopholes that allow cheap, disposable e-cigs to easily get into the hands of young people without delay. Given that we now know that young people who use e-cigarettes are up to 5 times more likely to be diagnosed with Covid-19, it is absolutely critical to act as soon as possible.”