Science | October 5, 2021 6:30 am

Data Suggests High Schoolers Are Vaping Less Frequently Than Last Year

Will the numbers continue to fall next year?

Vape pens
The youth are getting restless — and by "restless," we mean "vaping less."
CDC/Unsplash

In late 2019, the National Institute on Drug Abuse released some thought-provoking data on teen drug use. Among the takeaways was that vaping was significantly up among teens, though the use of alcohol, hard drugs and tobacco were all down. It was a classic case of “good news, bad news” — in a different context, data suggesting teenagers drinking was on the decline would be received enthusiastically. This news? Not so much.

Now, nearly two years later, a new report suggests that teenagers are vaping significantly less than they once did. The New York Times cites a recent survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with a surprising statistic at its center: 11.3% of current high school students say that they vape. That might still seem high — but it also represents a significant drop from last year’s number (19.6%) and the one from 2019 (27.5%).

The article offers a number of possible reasons for this, including students learning remotely due to the pandemic (and thus being less inclined to vape at home) and regulations against flavored vaping fluid that went into effect in 2020.

Even with the decline in numbers, many advocates against youth smoking regarded these numbers as call for action. “With millions of children having returned to school this fall, immediate action is needed to prevent the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and other tobacco products, including menthol products,” the American Heart Association said in a statement.

With many schools returning to in-person learning this fall, the question of whether the number of teens vaping will continue to fall remains open.