Local expert reacts to the CDC’s reports that 2.5 million teens are vaping

Girl uses a Juul e-cigarette
Girl uses a Juul e-cigarette(wsaw)
Published: Oct. 6, 2022 at 5:12 PM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - Experts say the statistics are alarming. According to a new survey, more than 2.5 million U.S. middle and high school students say they use e-cigarettes. That includes more than 14 percent of high school students and about three percent of middle school students who have reported using e-cigarettes within the previous 30 days.

The study was published Thursday in the CDC’s morbidity and mortality weekly report.

The 2022 National Youth Tobacco Survey was conducted between January 18 and May 31 of 2022. Experts say e-cigarettes continue to be the most commonly used tobacco product among students. Nearly 85 percent used flavored e-cigarettes and more than half used disposable vaping devices.

Experts say it shows that young people continue to be enticed by the variety of e- cigarettes and it once again calls into question the tactics these companies are using to attract young people to their brand.

Here are some other key findings:

  • One in four kids are using these products daily;
  • The most commonly used brand by kids and teenagers is Puff bar;
  • A majority of kids are using flavored e-cigarettes.

The CDC says that some of the data may have been impacted by the pandemic. Based on the surveys, e-cigarette use appears to be down among teens. But experts say that’s not necessarily true. The way the data was collected this time may have impacted the accuracy of what children have reported because of the last two years the children have spent a lot of time at home, perhaps with their parents, doing e-learning.

In our Digging Deeper report, we aske Nancy Cripe of Tobacco Free Allen County if she thinks the use of e-cigarettes has increased among teens.

“My guess is that what we are hearing anecdotally from teachers, from parents and youth themselves... it’s at least the number that it was back in 2019,” says Cripe. “That was 27 percent. I would be very surprised if it is lower than that. It may even be slightly higher. If you talk to teens, there are some that will so everybody is doing it. Teens sometimes have that perception about a lot of risky behaviors especially if they are trying to justify their own behavior. So I don’t think it’s quite everybody but it seems to be pretty widespread.”

Most e-cigarettes contain highly addictive nicotine which can harm the developing adolescent brain and can increase the risk of future addiction to other drugs. Advocates of a tobacco free community say it has become clear that their work is far from over.