E-cigarettes and education: New report unveils e-cigarette use among US youth
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E-cigarettes and education: New report unveils e-cigarette use among US youth

E-cigarettes and education: New report unveils e-cigarette use among US youth

Taking the world by a storm of smoke, vaping has grown in popularity in past years due to the rise of e-cigarettes.

Otherwise known as electronic cigarettes, these handheld battery-powered vaporizers simulate smoking, without burning tobacco.

Often used as an alternative to traditional smoking practice, using an e-cigarette to vape has become the norm, and has even provoked the production of vaping competitions and events worldwide.

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Is E-Cigarette use on the rise in the US? Or are the youth of today staying away from vaping trends? Source: Rainer Ridao/Unsplash

Documenting drug and alcohol use and related attitudes among adolescent students in the US since 1975, the ongoing Monitoring the Future Survey always provides valuable insight into e-cigarette trends.

As data from the 2018 edition of the survey showed, there was a skyrocketing use of e-cigarettes among youth in the US, and that “Disapproval of regular use of e-cigarettes also has been relatively low compared to most other substances.”

Also revealed within the recent release of the National Youth Tobacco Survey, which studied both US middle and high school students in 2019, it was reported that more than 5 million youth had used e-cigarettes within the past 30 days of being questioned and nearly one million proclaimed daily use.

Showcasing alarming levels of youth e-cigarette use, could the dangerous bond between e-cigarettes and education become an everlasting trend?

Using the National Youth Tobacco Survey data as a basis, a new report by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) estimates the prevalence of e-cigarette use among US high school and middle school students in 2019, including frequency of use, brands used and the use of flavoured products.

Including response data from 10,097 high school students and 8,837 middle school students, JAMA revealed interesting twists to the e-cigarette and education clash:

  • An estimated 27.5 percent of high school students and 10.5 percent of middle school students reported current e-cigarette use.
  • Among current e-cigarette users, an estimated 34.2 percent of high school students and 18 percent of middle school students reported frequent use, and an estimated 63.6 percent of high school students and 65.4 percent of middle school students reported exclusive use of e-cigarettes.
  • Among current exclusive e-cigarette users, an estimated 72.2 percent of high school students and 59.2 percent of middle school students used flavoured e-cigarettes with fruit, menthol/mint, candy, desserts and other sweets being the most commonly reported flavours.

The report also notes that “In 2019, the prevalence of self-reported e-cigarette use  was high among high school and middle school students, with many current e-cigarette users reporting frequent use and most of the exclusive e-cigarette users reporting use of flavoured e-cigarettes.”

As the popularity of e-cigarettes remains in high schools and middle schools in the US, there will no doubt be a continued effort to eradicate its negative effects and prioritise student health.

For instance, mega retail giant Alibaba is pushing to prevent the sales of cigarette components in the US due to growing regulatory scrutiny and reports of lung disease linked to vaping.

“The move follows announcements by Kroger Co and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc this week that they would stop selling e-cigarettes at their stores, in line with a similar decision by Walmart,” Reuters reveals.

And on the education front, it was recently reported that three US school districts filed suit against Juul, the e-cigarette manufacturer, “Accusing it of endangering students and forcing educators to divert time and money to fight an epidemic of nicotine addiction,” notes The New York Times.

With changes like these, progress and hope on the horizon. While the end to e-cigarette use among high-school and middle-school students in the US is likely to be a struggle, it may also be much closer than we think.

*Click here to find out more about the recent JAMA report.

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