Maybe good news on e-cigarettes.

Blog Post created by NDC_Team on Sep 30, 2020

E-cigarettes use by young people has increased significantly and steadily since 2011.  The US Surgeon General declared e-cigarettes a school age epidemic in 2016.  Despite this alert, e-cigarette use continued to increase from 2017-2019.  But the recently released 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey provides a glimmer of hope that we may be making progress. 


28 % of high school students and 10.5% of middle school students reported that they had used an e-cigarette in the past 30 days in 2019.   The most recent survey, completed between January 1 and March 15, 2020, found that 20% of high school students and 5% of middle school students reported current e-cigarette, a seemingly small, but very significant drop.   It may be that comprehensive evidence based strategies are beginning to work.


The FDA has measures in place to reduce access and marketing of e-cigarettes to people under 18.  These efforts may be having an effect.  Now is the time to expand enforcement and increase prevention.  Young people are most likely to use pre-filled pods that have fruit flavors or menthol. Most of these devices deliver very high doses of nicotine while attracting middle school students with the flavor – a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  Flavored and mint e-pods that appeal to children are illegal to manufacture.  The FDA needs to beef up enforcement so that the progress in preventing addiction among young people continues.


Michael V. Burke, Ed.D

Program Director and NDC Counselor/ CTTS