According to a federal report released on Wednesday, vaping by American teenagers fell dramatically this year, especially among middle school students.
Experts believe the outbreak of vaping-related illnesses and deaths in the last year may shock some children, but they believe other factors contributing to the drop include higher age limits and taste restrictions.
In a national survey, only 20 percent of high school students and 5 percent of middle school students said they were recent users of electronic cigarettes and other vaping products. A similar survey has led to a major decline last year, which included about 28 percent of high school students and 11 percent of recently passed middle schools.
The survey noted that the number of schoolchildren that fell 1.8 million in a year ranged from 5.4 million to 3.6 million, officials said.
But even as juvenile use declined, reports show a major bump in disposable e-cigarette use. The Food and Drug Administration earlier this year barred flavors from small vaping devices such as Juul and others that are primarily used by minors. The policy did not apply to disposable e-cigarettes, which may still have a sweet, candy-like flavor.
Matt Myers of the tobacco-free children’s campaign said in a statement, “As long as no flavored e-cigarettes are released into the market, children will put their hands on them and we will not resolve this crisis. “
The national survey is conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in schools each year and consists of approximately 20,000 middle and high school students. It asks students whether they used any vaping or traditional tobacco products in the previous month. The survey was cut this year as schools closed due to the coronovirus epidemic.
Federal health officials believe measures like public health media campaigns, price increases and sales restrictions account for the vaping decline. Now in age 21 for sale.
But they also acknowledge that perhaps the outbreak played a role. CDC’s Brian King said sales began to fall in August – when national media coverage of the outbreak intensified.
“It is possible that some use of increased awareness may affect the decline,” King said.
The outbreak had subsided earlier this year, by then more than 2,800 illnesses and 68 deaths had taken place. Most of those who became ill said that they destroy solutions containing THC, the component that produces high in marijuana. CDC officials gradually focused their investigation on a black market THC cartridge and a chemical compound called vitamin E acetate that was added to add THC vaping fluid.
Kenneth Warner, professor emeritus at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health, said the Teen Wapping drop was larger than expected.
“It looks like a lot of scarcity in a single year and it’s very encouraging,” said Warner, a tobacco control specialist.
Among the possible factors, Warner noted the general negative publicity surrounding Vaping. Additionally, Juul already pulled off all of its volatile flavors except menthol and tobacco, which was the final drop before federal action.
Warner and other researchers have seen the recent decline in teen-smoking as almost all% – about 6% – even as vapor increases. He said that it would be important to see if teenage smoking begins to reoccur in low adolescence.
The new figures were revealed on the same day that all US vaping manufacturers faced a long delay timeframe to submit their products for FDA review. Generally, this means that vaping companies must demonstrate that their products help smokers reduce or quit their use of cigarettes and other tobacco products.
E-cigarettes first appeared in the US more than a decade ago and have grown in popularity with minimal federal regulation.