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  • Posted May 14, 2024

Vaping Rates Fall Among Teens, But Still Too High

Vaping rates among U.S. kids in grades 9 through 12 fell to 5% in 2021, the latest year for which data is available.

That's down from a peak of 7.2% of teens who vaped in 2019, a new report finds.

However, the 5% vaping rate observed in 2021 is still more than double the 2% rate observed among teens in 2015, the study authors noted.

It's also only slightly less than the 6% of adults who vaped in 2022.

All of this doesn't bode well for teens' long-term health, said study senior author Panagiota Kitsantas.

“Almost 100% of e-cigarettes sold in the U.S. contain nicotine, and the use of these products by adolescents may lead to future abuse of and addiction to additional substances,” said Kitsantas, chair of population health and social medicine at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.

The new study is based on a look at data from an ongoing database of youth behaviors compiled by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The data on vaping involved over 57,000 people and began in 2015.

The data also showed a pronounced switch in which teens are more prone to vape. In 2015, boys were more prone to the habit than girls were (2.8% vs 1.1%, respectively). However, by 2021 girls were more likely to vape than boys (5.6% vs 4.5%, respectively), the study found.

Between 2015 and 2021, 12th graders consistently had the highest rate of e-cigarette use, compared to lower grades, the study found.

Vaping "increases risks of nicotine addiction, drug-seeking behavior [and] mood disorders," all of which raise a person's odds for illness and death over time, warned study lead author Dr. Charles Hennekens, professor of medicine at Florida Atlantic.

And even though some may view vaping as an alternative to tobacco smoking, research has shown that people who vape "are more likely to switch to cigarette smoking, which, despite remarkable declines in the U.S., remains the leading avoidable cause of premature death in the U.S.  and worldwide," Hennekens said in a university news release.

According to Kitsantas, the continued high uptake of vaping by youth “suggest the need for targeted interventions such as mass media campaigns and peer interventions to combat the influences of social norms." She also believes that doctors should routinely screen young patients about whether or not they vape.

The findings were published in the May issue of the Oschner Journal.

More information

Find out more about vaping and how to quit it at smokefree.gov

SOURCE: Florida Atlantic University, news release, May 13, 2024

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