Study says kids’ vaping not up, but some are skeptical
Vaping held steady last year in high-school students and declined in middle-school kids, according to new government data, but some researchers are skeptical because the survey may have missed out on a booming e-cigarette brand.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey did not specifically ask about Juul e-cigarettes, and research suggests some kids don’t equate the trendy devices with other types of e-cigarettes.
Given that omission and the skyrocketing sales of Juul last year, the survey may be missing a big part of what’s going on, said Jidong Huang, a Georgia State University researcher.
E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that provide users with aerosol puffs that typically contain nicotine, and sometimes flavorings like fruit, mint or chocolate. They’re generally considered a less dangerous alternative to regular cigarettes, but health officials have warned nicotine is harmful to developing brains.
The new CDC study is based on a questionnaire filled out annually by roughly 20,000 students in grades 6 through 12. The study focused on “current users” – kids who said they had used a tobacco product in the previous 30 days.
The CDC survey, and others, have shown a general decline in the use of tobacco products.
But the level of vaping soared until 2016, when there was a puzzling and dramatic drop, from 16 percent to 11 percent of high-school students. That translated to a decline in teen vapers from 3 million to 2.2 million in just one year.