A U.S. government study has found that vaping rates among young students fell sharply this year. The drop comes after last year’s sudden increase in vaping-related illnesses and deaths.
The national survey, released this week, showed that just under 20 percent of high school students said they were recent users of e-cigarettes and other vaping products. Just 5 percent of middle school students said they had recently used them.
That marks a big decrease from a similar survey in 2019. The earlier survey found nearly 28 percent of high school students and 11 percent of middle school students had recently vaped.
The 2020 survey was carried out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in partnership with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
About 20,000 American students took part in the survey from mid-January to mid-March. They were asked about the use of any vaping or tobacco products during the past month.
While the number of students smoking cigarettes has reached all-time lows in recent years, the use of vaping products has exploded. Officials say the vaping increase was linked to popular e-cigarettes, like those made by Juul Labs of San Francisco.
Earlier this year, the FDA barred some flavors from vaping devices mainly used by minors. And federal law now bans sales of all tobacco products and e-cigarettes to anyone under age 21.
Public health experts have wondered if last year’s sudden increase in vaping related illnesses may have caused some students to give up vaping. Most of the cases happened in August and September. By year’s end, more than 2,600 illnesses and close to 60 deaths had been reported.
Most of those who got sick said they had vaped mixtures containing THC. That is the substance in marijuana that produces a high. Health officials eventually centered their investigation on these THC products and on a chemical compound called vitamin E acetate, which had been added to some THC vaping liquids.
Matt Myers of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids said in a statement the survey showed a “meaningful drop” in teen vaping. But he criticized the Trump administration for not following through on a promise to ban all flavored e-cigarettes. The policy did not cover disposable e-cigarettes, which saw a big increase in this year’s survey.
“As long as any flavored e-cigarettes are left on the market, kids will get their hands on them and we will not solve this crisis,” Myers said.
I’m Bryan Lynn.
The Associated Press reported this story. Hai Do adapted the story for Learning English. Bryan Lynn was the editor.