The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a study in October showing youth e-cigarette use remains high in 2022. The study found 2.55 million U.S. middle and high school students reported current (past 30 day) e-cigarette use in 2022 (14.1% of high school students and 3.3% of middle school students), the overwhelming majority of whom use flavored e-cigarettes, with fruit and candy flavors being the most prominent followed by mint and menthol. Among youth who used e-cigarettes, almost half report using them frequently (20 out of the last 30 days) and more than 1 in 4 used them daily. The most used brand reported was Puff Bar, used by 730,000 kids. The findings are based on data from the 2022 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS), a cross-sectional, self-administered survey of U.S. middle and high school students, administered January 18–May 31, 2022.
The following is a statement from Lisa Lacasse, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).
“There is a youth tobacco epidemic in this country and it is clear e-cigarettes continue to play a major role in preventing our ability to achieve a tobacco-free generation. These numbers are simply unacceptable. We cannot stand for more than 2.5 million kids being lured into a lifetime of addiction through e-cigarettes. Tobacco use is the leading cause of cancer death. If the country is to meet President Biden’s Moonshot goals to cut cancer deaths in half in the next 25 years, we must do everything in our power to reduce youth tobacco use, including e-cigarette use.
“ACS CAN is committed to ending cancer as we know it, for everyone. As part of that mission, ACS CAN urges FDA to take enforcement action to keep e-cigarette manufacturers from addicting kids and keep these products out of the hands of our youth. ACS CAN and its partners have called on FDA to enforce the Congressionally-mandated deadlines for premarket tobacco product applications, including for synthetic nicotine products. Puff Bar, the e-cigarette brand shown to be most commonly used among youth in the study, claims to use synthetic nicotine in its products. FDA must also enforce actions against new tobacco products, including youth-appealing flavored e-cigarettes, that have already received marketing denial orders yet remain on the market illegally. These actions must be part of larger tobacco control strategies at the federal, state and local level, passing policies proven to reduce youth tobacco use including regular and significant tobacco tax increases, comprehensive smoke-free laws, adequate funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs and Medicaid coverage for proven cessation services.
“We know what we need to do to bring these numbers down and help improve the odds our kids lead healthy, productive lives. We have a responsibility to act on this knowledge. Knowing youth who use e-cigarettes are more likely to use combustible cigarettes, this study clearly shows our kids need us to take action now. Any further delay will result in more lives lost to tobacco-related diseases like cancer.”