CDC Says E-Cigarette Use Among Teenagers is on the Decline

The days of Joe Cool advertising cigarettes are long gone. Instead, today’s students are routinely warned about the dangers of smoking. Regulators have been less sure what kids these days think of e-cigarettes, fearing that the flavor options might be tempting more youth who would otherwise not try tobacco. E-cigarettes, a relatively new form of tobacco use, overtook cigarettes in popularity among youth in 2015. The results of the latest National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS), released by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) puts some of those fears to rest, showing that teen vaping has fallen for the second-consecutive year.

According to the CDC, use of e-cigarettes by high schoolers has dropped from 16 percent to 11.7 percent since 2015. This means roughly a million fewer youth tobacco users, a shift with the potential to cause major benefits to public health.

The numbers are a welcome sign for the vaping industry, which has been working to persuade regulators that the introduction of vapes has not increased youth tobacco use.

“The CDC’s statistics demonstrate once again that e-cigarette curiosity amongst youth peaked in 2015 and now remains at a statistically significant reduced level in 2017, having dropped two years in a row,” said Tony Abboud, president of the Vapor Technology Association, a trade group for the vaping industry.

For the industry, the survey results provide hope that American regulators will follow their British counterparts, embracing vaping and e-cigarettes as a safer alternative to traditional tobacco use. In one encouraging sign, the American Cancer Society (ACS) on Wednesday released a public health statement on tobacco use that acknowledged the different health impacts of “electronic nicotine delivery systems,” or e-cigarettes as compared to smoking.