FRIDAY, Oct. 1, 2021 (HealthDay News) – It turns out that the pandemic has reaped an unexpected benefit: As teens were kept at home more often, their electronic cigarette use decreased by nearly 40%, according to a new report .
U.S. health officials said these numbers should be viewed with caution, but the 2021 drop in vaping is likely real and makes sense, as teenagers often vape socially, an Associated Press expert said.
“They’ve seen a dramatic drop from last year, and it’s hard to imagine that this isn’t a real drop in usage among high and middle school students,” said Dr. Nancy Rigotti from Harvard University who was not involved in the research. said the AP.
The survey found that 11% of high school students and less than 3% of middle school students said they had used e-cigarettes and other vaping products recently.
The previous year, nearly 20% of high school students and nearly 5% of middle school students had used e-cigarettes, the AP reported.
Before the pandemic, teen vaping was already on the decline as federal laws raised the age for purchasing all tobacco and steam products from 18 to 21, the AP reported. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also banned most flavored e-cigarette cartridges, which fueled the popularity of vaping among teenagers.
Some teens may also have responded to outbreaks of disease and death related to vaping from vaping liquids that contained THC, the active chemical in marijuana, the AP noted.
More surveys are needed to confirm these results, Rigotti said. With teenagers back in school now, e-cigarette use may pick up again.
“However, I’m sure the schools are working hard to make sure this doesn’t happen,” she added.
Government officials estimate roughly 2 million U.S. teenagers vape, a number they say is still way too high.
“E-cigarette consumption among adolescents remains a serious public health problem,” said CDC specialist Dr. Karen Hacker in an FDA press release on the survey. “It is important that we continue to work together to protect young people from the risks associated with using tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.”