Vaping among teens skyrocketed in the last year as cigarette use declined, new CDC study shows
- Health officials are blaming e-cigarette startups like Juul for the increase in teens taking up vaping in a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- The number of middle and high school students using e-cigarettes rose in the last year: from 2.1 million in 2017 to 3.6 million in 2018 - a difference of 1.5 million, according to the study.
In recent years, teens have been quick to drop traditional cigarette smoking and pick up the newer, trendier way to consume nicotine: vaping.
Last year alone, over 3.6 million middle and high school kids used e-cigarettes À la popular startups like San Francisco-based Juul, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC conducted the report in spring 2018, interviewing more than 20,000 middle and high school students about their tobacco use in the previous month. While traditional cigarette smoking has decreased, vaping has exploded: nearly 30 percent of high school students who said they used e-cigarettes said they've vaped at least 20 days in the past month - a 40% increase from 2017.
"The skyrocketing growth of young people's e-cigarette use over the past year threatens to erase progress made in reducing youth tobacco use," CDC Director Robert R. Redfield said in a statement. "It's putting a new generation at risk for nicotine addiction."
Critics and public health officials have previously called on Juul, which is valued at $38 billion and controls over 70 percent of the e-cig market, to take sweeping measures in order to prevent its product from getting into the hands of young people.
It's gotten to the point where the head of the FDA summoned Juul and Altria, which owns 30 percent of the company, to Washington to discuss the surge of teens using its product. This past November, under immense federal pressure, Juul said it would stop selling its flavored products in stores - the thinking being that flavored products are more appealing to younger people. The CDC report said 73% of high schoolers who used tobacco products in the past 30 days reported using a flavored tobacco product.
The CDC study concluded by saying many teens use two or more tobacco products. Some researchers believe vaping is just the gateway back to traditional packs, even as cigarette smoking declines throughout the US.
"We are committed to fighting underage use of vaping products, including JUUL products," A Juul Labs spokesperson said in a statement sent to Business Insider. "Our mission is to eliminate cigarettes by offering existing adult smokers a true alternative to combustible cigarettes."