Fewer High School Students Using E-Cigarettes

2 min read

Nov. 3, 2023 – More than half a million high school students have stopped vaping in the past year, according to new government data that also showed e-cigarette use among middle-schoolers is holding steady.

In the 2023 National Youth Tobacco Survey, 10% of high school students reported using e-cigarettes, down from 14% in 2022. Among middle school students, 4.6% said they currently use e-cigarettes. About 1 in 4 of the youth who use e-cigarettes said that they do so daily.

The annual survey conducted by the CDC and the FDA collects responses from a nationally representative sample of private and public school students in 6th through 12th grades. The 2023 survey was given to 22,069 students from 179 schools and asked about nine different types of tobacco products.

Overall, 1 in 10 middle and high school students reported currently using a tobacco product, which researchers defined as use in the past 30 days. 

Despite the encouraging decline in e-cigarette use among high school students, public health officials noted that the majority of youth who vape said they do so at least six days per month.

“These findings are concerning, because adolescents have reported symptoms of nicotine dependence when using tobacco products only 1–3 days per month,” the authors wrote.

Disposable e-cigarettes were the most popular type, which lines up with increasing market share among disposable products, the authors noted. They also said, “they are relatively inexpensive, have a high nicotine content, and are available in flavors appealing to youths (e.g., fruit and candy).” 

In 2020, the FDA banned flavors from reusable e-cigarettes, such as those made by JUUL, but the ban didn’t extend to disposable e-cigarettes. Disposables like Elf Bar and Esco Bars are now the preferred brands among youth, according to the 2023 survey responses. About 9 in 10 youth e-cigarette users said they vape flavored products.

E-cigarettes heat a liquid that usually contains nicotine and other additives into an aerosol that the user inhales. Nicotine in e-cigarettes is addictive, just like nicotine in regular cigarettes. The flavorants in e-cigarettes have been linked to serious lung disease. Vaping is considered harmful to the developing brain, just as smoking during pregnancy can harm an unborn baby, according to the U.S. Surgeon General’s website Know The Risks.