Here are some teen vaping facts to be happy about: US teenagers, particularly middle schoolers, aren’t vaping as much as they used to. A federal report released earlier this fall says that vaping by teens has dropped significantly since last year.
According to the Associated Press, the report reveals that last year around 28% of high school students and 11% of middle school students said they’d recently vaped. Fast forward to 2020, when about 20% of high schoolers and only 5% of middle schoolers said they’d recently vaped. That’s an impressive difference.
And it’s even more remarkable when you look at these numbers: 5.4 million school kids vaped last year, compared to 3.6 million this year, according to the report. And 1.8 million kids stopped vaping in a year.
The drop in teen vaping is larger than expected. That’s according to Kenneth Warner, a professor emeritus at the University of Michigan’s school of public health.
“This does look like a very substantial decrease in a single year,” said Warner, “and it’s very encouraging.”
Why the Striking Change?
Surprisingly, it’s not due to the coronavirus forcing kids to be at home with parents. In fact, the survey was taken before schools were closed due to the pandemic.
Experts think it’s due to a number of reasons. First, they believe last year’s outbreak of vaping-related illnesses played a big part. They think it might have been enough to scare a lot of kids. On top of that, age limits were raised, flavors were banned, and the negative publicity surrounding vaping increased.
Officials also think media campaigns, price increases, and sales restrictions had a hand in lowering teen vaping numbers.
But it’s not all good news. The federal report says that even though teen vaping decreased, there was a major increase in the use of disposable e-cigarettes. According to the AP, the Food and Drug Administration took a big step earlier this year and disallowed smaller vaping devices like Juul from providing flavors that are particularly attractive to kids.
But the FDA did not do the same with disposable e-cigarettes. And e-cigarettes can also have sweet, tempting flavors.
“As long as any flavored e-cigarettes are left on the market, kids will get their hands on them,” says Matt Myers of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, “and we will not solve this crisis.”