Fewer high school students are vaping this year, the government reported Thursday.
In one survey, 10% of high school students reported using e-cigarettes in the past month, up from 14% last year.
Use of any tobacco product, including cigarettes and cigars, also declined among high school students, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.
“A lot of good news, I would say,” said Kenneth Michael Cummings, a University of South Carolina researcher who was not involved in the CDC study.
Among college students, around 5% report using electronic cigarettes. This has not changed significantly from last year’s survey.
This year’s survey involved more than 22,000 students who completed an online survey last spring. The agency considers the annual survey its best measure of youth smoking trends.
Why this drop among high school students? Health officials say a number of factors could help, including efforts to raise prices and limit sales to children.
The Food and Drug Administration has approved some tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes intended to help adult smokers reduce their consumption. The age limit for selling is 21 years old nationwide.
Other key findings from the report:
— Among students who currently use e-cigarettes, about a quarter reported using them daily.
— About 1 in 10 middle and high school students reported having recently used a tobacco product. That’s 2.8 million children in the United States.
— E-cigarettes were the most commonly used type of tobacco product, and disposable cigarettes were the most popular among adolescents.
— Nearly 90% of students who vape have used flavored products, with fruit and candy flavors topping the list.
Over the past three years, federal and state laws and regulations have banned almost all of teens’ favorite flavors in small, cartridge-based e-cigarettes, like Juul.
But the FDA still struggles to regulate the vast vaping landscape, which now includes hundreds of brands sold in flavors like gummy bear and watermelon. The growing variety of flavored vapes has been driven almost entirely by a wave of cheap disposable devices imported from China, which the FDA considers illegal.
The CDC highlighted a worrying but puzzling conclusion from the report. There was a slight increase in the number of middle school students who reported using at least one tobacco product in the past month, while that rate decreased among high school students. Usually these move in tandem, said Kurt Ribisl, a researcher at the University of North Carolina. He and Cummings cautioned against making too much of the finding, saying it could be a mistake of a year.
Perrone reported from Washington.
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