E-cigarette use among US teens has doubled since 2017

Over 25% of 12th-graders have admitted to vaping sometime in the previous month.

American teens are taking a shine to electronic cigarettes. According to a new national study, vaping by high schoolers has doubled in the span of two years.

Following over a hundred hospitalizations and the deaths of seven people in the US following a mystery acute lung disease, the state of New York decided on Tuesday to ban the sale of flavored e-liquids for electronic cigarettes. The next day, India decided to completely ban the use of e-cigarettes. 

These drastic measures target mostly youth, who are particularly drawn to the product. According to a study conducted by the University of Michigan and funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the number of vapers among high school students has doubled since 2017.

The study, which was published in the The England Journal of Medicine analyzed data from 42,531 8th-, 10th- and 12th-graders in the US.

A public health crisis

The results point to a significant increase in e-cigarette consumption over the three years of the study since 2018. Over 25% of 12th-graders and 20% of 9th-graders have claimed having vaped in the previous month. The figure falls to 9% for 8th-graders. 

"These products introduce the highly addictive chemical nicotine to these young people and their developing brains, and I fear we are only beginning to learn the possible health risks and outcomes for youth," said NIDA director Dr. Volkow.

"Parents with school-aged children should begin paying close attention to these devices, which can look like simple flash drives, and frequently come in flavors that are appealing to youth," added University of Michigan's Richard Miech, the lead researcher of the study.

Other results of the national study that provides data on marijuana, alcohol and other drug consumption will be released in December.