WASHINGTON, Feb 12 — The number of the young in the US using e-cigarettes grew by 1.5 million in 2018, erasing years of progress in reducing youth tobacco use, health authorities said yesterday.
Some 3.6 million middle and high school students had used a vaping product in the past 30 days, up from 2.1 million the year before, while the number of cigarette smokers and consumption of other tobacco products remained stable, according to the report by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“The skyrocketing growth of young people’s e-cigarette use over the past year threatens to erase progress made in reducing youth tobacco use,” said CDC Director Robert Redfield. “It’s putting a new generation at risk for nicotine addiction.”
Authorities have tightened regulations, with market leader Juul in particular coming under particular scrutiny.
“All policy options are on the table,” warned Mitch Zeller, Director of the Centre for Tobacco Products at the Food and Drug Administration, which regulates vaping and in November restricted the sale of certain flavours such as fruit and chewing-gum.
Vaping began to take off among the young in the 2010s, and overtook cigarette smoking in 2014.
While the number of middle and high school cigarette smokers has been falling steadily since 2011, the number of vapers in that group has increased dramatically, from 1.5 per cent then to 20.8 in 2018.
The survey estimates 4.9 per cent of college students vape.
The US categorises e-cigarettes as tobacco products, a definition not shared by all countries. — AFP-Relaxews