Health Editor’s Note: The use of nicotine in high schoolers and those in middle schools continues to rise and is on target to become a major health crisis. Big tobacco is so frantic to increase sales, that it has targeted children and the health of these children will take an astronomical hit. Despicable!…..Carol
by Salynn Boyles, Contributing Writer for MedPage Today
Use of electronic cigarettes spiked almost 80% among high school students and 50% among middle school students in the past year alone, with 3.6 million teens reporting current e-cigarette use in 2018, according to new national survey data from the CDC.
In 2018, just under 21% of high school students (3.05 million) reported vaping within the last 30 days, versus about 1.5% (220,000) in 2011.
Among middle school students, current e-cigarette use increased from 0.6% in 2011 (60,000 students) to 4.9% (570,000) in 2018 (P<0.001).
Data from the CDC’s 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS), which is a nationally representative survey of middle and high school students, were published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
In his announcement Thursday of new restrictions on e-cigarette sales and marketing aimed at addressing underage use, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, said the agency has been aware of the recent surge for a few months.
“These data shook my conscience,” he said, noting that the number of middle and high school students using e-cigarettes in 2018 was close to double that of the previous year (3.6 million versus. 1.5 million in 2017).
The survey also revealed that 28% of high school current e-cigarette users were vaping regularly (on 20 or more days in the past month) and two-thirds were using flavored e-cigarettes.
“These increases must stop,” Gottlieb said. “And the bottom line is this: I will not allow a generation of children to become addicted to nicotine through e-cigarettes. We won’t let this pool of kids, a pool of future potential smokers, of future disease and death, to continue to build. We will take whatever action is necessary to stop these trends from continuing.”
Gottlieb, and the newly released CDC report, attributed the dramatic increase in teen e-cigarette use between 2017 and 2018 to the popularity of the e-cigarette brand Juul, which is shaped like a USB flash drive, and other closed-cartridge vaping products.
“These products can be used discreetly, have a high nicotine content, and come in flavors that appeal to youths,” the report noted.
In September, the FDA issued more than 1,300 warning letters and civil money penalty fines to retailers who illegally sold e-cigarette products to minors, the majority of which were the e-cigarette manufacturers blu, Juul, Logic, MarkTen XL, and Vuse.