NEW YORK (AP) – Vaping remained stable last year in high school students and declined in high school, according to new government data, but some researchers are skeptical that the Survey may have been lost in a booming electronic cigarette brand.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey did not specifically ask about Juul electronic cigarettes, and research suggests that some children do not equate modern devices with other types of electronic cigarettes.  Given that omission and exorbitant sales of Juul last year, the survey may be missing a large part of what is happening, said Jidong Huang, a researcher at Georgia State University.  Related:  Electronic cigarettes are battery-powered devices that provide users with aerosols that generally contain nicotine and, sometimes, flavoring such as fruit, mint or chocolate. They are generally considered a less dangerous alternative to ordinary cigarettes, but health officials have warned that nicotine is harmful to developing brains.
The new CDC study is based on a questionnaire filled out annually by approximately 20,000 students in grades 6 through 12. The study focused on "current users," defined as children who said they had used a tobacco product in the last 30 days.
The survey by the CDC and others has shown a general decline in the use of tobacco products.  But the level of vaping soared until 2016, when there was a disconcerting and dramatic drop, from 16 percent to 11 percent of high school students. That translated into a decrease in adolescent vapers from 3 million to 2.2 million in just one year.
Experts attributed the decline to public health warnings, sales restrictions and the possibility that fewer children see electronic cigarettes as novel.
The new CDC study, released on Thursday, found that high school vaping was roughly the same level last year as in 2016, about 11 percent. That translates to approximately 1 in 9 students, which means that it continues to be the most commonly used product.
The use of cigarettes continued to fall, albeit slightly, and last year it fell into a tie with the cigars for second place. This is the first time that cigarettes are smoked as often as cigarettes among children.
Among middle school students, about 1 in 30 said last year that they had recently smoked. That was a decrease from the previous year, when the figure was 1 in 23.
Brian King, who oversees the work of the CDC tobacco survey, said he believes the survey captures a sizable proportion of children who They use Juul cigarettes. , but acknowledged that there could be "some underestimation". He said there are plans to add questions about Juul, but that they probably will not appear until next year's poll.
Similar plans are being made for an annual survey by the University of Michigan on teen tobacco use, said Richard Miech, who leads that survey. study. Because children are not specifically asked about Juul, researchers can not say with certainty whether the vapors increase or decrease, he said.
Juul electronic cigarettes went on sale for the first time in 2015. They look like computer flash drives, can be recharged in the USB ports of the computer and have pre-filled cartridges containing nicotine. They also offer kid-friendly flavors, such as fruits and creme brulee, and teenagers can smoke them discreetly, even in class.
Related: EE. UU Warns manufacturers of liquid nicotine: Packages can not be seen as candy for children
Last year, Juul became the best-selling brand of electronic cigarettes, with more than $ 650 million in retail sales. That's due, at least in part, to aggressive marketing through Instagram and other social networks, Huang noted in a recent article in the Tobacco Control magazine.
More data is needed to see how much of those sales were for children, he said in an interview.
"But seeing the sales data, I think it's hard to say that the use of electronic cigarettes among teenagers is constant or decreasing," he said.
The US Food and Drug Administration. UU He has been targeting Juul. In April, the agency issued warnings to retailers about sales to children. The FDA also asked the manufacturer, Juul Labs of San Francisco, to provide documents on the design and commercialization of the devices.
Juul Labs has said that it is trying to combat the adolescent use of its products. Company officials said this week they will launch a new advertising campaign to answer questions from parents about the devices.
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