During the pandemic, stay-at-home orders and school closures delivered an unexpected benefit as vaping in teens dropped to 40 percent. The survey among American students showed that only 11 percent of high school kids and three percent of middle school children used e-cigarettes in recent months.
Harvard University's Dr. Nancy Rigotti said that the survey's results made sense because vaping in teens is usually associated with social activities. However, for most of the pandemic, school kids were limited to socializing online, contributing to the dramatic drop in their e-cigarette use.
The expert said that if the numbers hold up or continue to drop in the next survey, due at the end year, e-cigarette use among high schoolers could decline.
Pre-Pandemic Numbers on Vaping in Teens
The survey, conducted from January to May 2021, took place both online and in some schools. The results conveyed that vaping in teens was higher among students in the classroom (16 percent) than students in online learning programs (eight percent).
Overall, however, government officials believe that over two million teenagers in the U.S. vape or have tried vaping. The numbers are concerning for Dr. Karen Hacker of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) because e-cigarette remains a serious public health issue.
In 2018, the CDC learned that vaping in teens increased by 78 percent within a year. Dr. Wilson Compton, the National Institute on Drug Abuse deputy director, told NBC News that one-third of seniors in high school are using vaping products.
This has prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to impose a series of directives to cut down access to vaping products among the youth. Despite what the kids might think, vaping products still contain addictive substances than just flavoring.
More Limits to Vape
Despite the dip in numbers for 2021, the FDA is still bent on placing more limitations against the vaping industry as it reviews which e-cigarette products may remain in the market. Last September, the FDA has banned nearly a million vaping and vaping-related products, except for Juul, a leading brand, which has been in business for a decade.
However, the latest survey showed that fewer teenagers are patronizing Juul, which is only available in two flavors - menthol or tobacco. High school students prefer to vape Puff Bar, a type of disposable e-cigarette with attractive flavors like pink lemonade and strawberry.
In a statement, the FDA revealed that the ban is in line with the reviews to ensure the protection of young people. The agency said that it had rejected 93 percent of the six million vaping product applications in the last year, and 75 percent of these rejections were immediately denied because of missing key information related to teen's dependency on e-cigarettes.
Anti-tobacco advocates have been criticizing the FDA for its slow action on the accessibility of vapes to teenagers, saying that the review has been long overdue. The agency will also look into other products for smoking, such as pipes, mini-cigars, and hookahs.
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