Carried out between January 16th and March 16th, the school-based survey indicated that 19.6% of high school students (3.02 million) reported e-cigarette use, down from 27.5% (4.11 million) in 2019. Amongst middle school students the figure dropped aswell, from 10.5% (1.24 million) in 2019, to 4.7% (550 000).
The FDA added that more than 8 out of 10 teen vapers use flavours and almost 40% of high school users are using an e-cigarette on 20 or more days out of the month and almost a quarter of them use e-cigarettes every day. All these factors, said the agency, are indicators of a high nicotine dependence among youth, and show the need for action.
E-cigarettes are not the source of the problem
A recent study from the University of Michigan, suggested that as was the case with cigarette smoking in the past, the main motivator behind teen vaping is the “cool” factor derived from using e-cigarettes, not the availability of flavours.
Additionally, a new study of high school seniors in the U.S., found that teens who are less satisfied with their lives and seek out risky and exciting experiences, are the ones more likely to use multiple substances regularly, including tobacco and vaping products. Additionally, found this study, the participants’ attitude towards vaping also reflected how they viewed other substances.
Other recent studies found that personality factors (high neuroticism) and curiosity, played a main role in enticing teenagers to initiate vaping. This reflects arguments by tobacco harm reduction experts, who have long been pointing out that the existence of flavours is not the main motivator for teens to take up vaping. Those who are likely to vape, would be smoking in the absence of the safer alternatives.