Electronic cigarette use among young people remains a serious public health problem during the COVID-19 pandemic



A study released today by the United States Food and Drug Administration and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that more than 2 million U.S. middle school and high school students report currently using e-cigarettes. in 2021, with more than 8 in 10 of these young people using flavored electronic cigarettes.

The report, published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, was based on data from the 2021 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS), a self-administered cross-sectional survey of American students in middle (6-8) and higher (9-12) schools. The study assessed current use (used in one or more of the last 30 days) of electronic cigarettes; frequency of use; and usage by appliance type, flavor and usual brand.

This NYTS, administered from January 18 to May 21, 2021, was the first to be fully conducted amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The data was collected using an online survey to allow eligible students to participate in class, at home or elsewhere to account for the various school contexts during this time. Before the pandemic, the investigation was conducted in person, inside the classroom. Due to changes in the way the survey was conducted this year, the results of NYTS 2021 cannot be compared to the results of previous surveys.

Nonetheless, NYTS 2021 provides crucial information on the use of e-cigarettes by young people. Notably, when many students were in distance learning environments that could have affected their access to tobacco products, about 11.3% (1.72 million) of high school students and about 2.8% (320 000) of middle school students said they currently use e-cigarettes. .

These data highlight the fact that flavored electronic cigarettes are still extremely popular with children. And we’re also troubled by the quarter of high school students who use e-cigarettes and say they vape every day. The FDA continues to take action against those who sell or target electronic cigarettes and e-liquids to children, as demonstrated this year by the denial of more than one million pre-market applications for the system’s products. administration of flavored electronic nicotine. It is essential that these products get out of the market and out of the hands of the youth of our country. “

Mitch Zeller, JD, Director, FDA Tobacco Products Center

Other key findings

  • Frequency of use: Among youth who currently used e-cigarettes, 43.6% of high school students and 17.2% of high school students reported using e-cigarettes for at least 20 days in the past 30 days. Also among current users, more than one in four high school students (27.6%) and about one in 12 college students (8.3%) who used e-cigarettes used them daily.
  • Device type use: Among youth who currently used e-cigarettes, the most common type of e-cigarette device used was disposable devices (53.7%), followed by pre-filled or refillable pods or cartridges (28 , 7%) and tanks or mod systems (9.0%)).
  • Use of flavoring: Among young people who currently used electronic cigarettes, 84.7% used flavored electronic cigarettes, of which 85.8% were high school users and 79.2% were college users. Overall, the most commonly used flavor types were fruit; candies, desserts or other sweets; mint; and minty. (Note that these results refer to flavors other than tobacco.)
  • Brand Use: Among high school students who currently used e-cigarettes, 26.1% said their usual brand was Puff Bar, followed by Vuse (10.8%), SMOK (9.6%), JUUL (5.7%) and Suorin (2.3%). Among middle school students who currently used e-cigarettes, 30.3% said their usual brand was Puff Bar and 12.5% ​​said JUUL. Notably, 15.6% of high school users and 19.3% of college users said they did not know the brand of electronic cigarette they usually used.

“This study shows that even during the COVID-19 pandemic, e-cigarette use among young people remains a serious public health problem,” said Karen Hacker, MD, MPH, director of the National Center for Disease Prevention chronic and health-promoting CDC. “It is essential that we continue to work together to protect young people from the risks associated with the use of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Our public health efforts include the CDC’s national and state tobacco control program, and resources for educators, parents, and providers to warn young people about tobacco products and help them quit smoking.

Control of the consumption of tobacco products by young people

The use of tobacco products by young people in any form, including electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) such as electronic cigarettes, is dangerous. These products contain nicotine, which is highly addictive and can interfere with adolescent brain development. Nicotine use in adolescence can also increase the risk of future addiction to other drugs.

Ongoing efforts to combat e-cigarette use by young people are critical, including significant progress made by the FDA on the unprecedented number of pre-market applications received by the court deadline set on the 9th. September 2020 for suspected new tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes.

The agency has taken action on more than 96% of claims to date, including issuing Denial-of-Market (MDO) orders for more than one million flavored ENDS products that are so popular with young people. MDOs have been issued for products whose applications did not have sufficient evidence that these products are of benefit to adult smokers to overcome the public health problem posed by the well-documented and significant appeal of the products to young people. The FDA is aware of a number of companies, such as Puff Bar, claiming that their products contain only synthetic nicotine that is not from tobacco, which may raise separate regulatory and legal issues that the agency is considering. to solve at best.

As of 2014, e-cigarettes have been the most common tobacco product used by young Americans. As the tobacco products landscape continues to evolve, the sustained implementation of comprehensive tobacco control and prevention strategies at the national, state and local levels, coupled with FDA regulations, can prevent and reduce tobacco use. initiation and consumption of tobacco products among young people.


Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention



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