The most recent data from the 2023 National Youth Tobacco Survey, jointly released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), reveals a modest reduction of about 1% in overall tobacco use among American youths compared to the previous year. This decline is primarily driven by decreases in the use of e-cigarettes among high school students.
According to the report, approximately 10% of students across various grades, equivalent to 2.8 million youths, reported using some form of tobacco product during the 2022-2023 period. Notably, current tobacco use rates among high school students decreased from 16.5% to 12.6%, with approximately 580,000 fewer high schoolers currently using e-cigarettes.
However, the data showed a contrasting trend among middle school students, where overall tobacco use increased from 4.5% to 6.6%. Additionally, the use of multiple tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, e-cigarettes, and smokeless tobacco, rose from 1.5% to 2.5% among middle school students. E-cigarette usage in this group remained relatively stable compared to the previous year.
The report emphasized that “E-cigarettes remained the most commonly used tobacco product among both high school and middle school students for the 10th year in a row,” as highlighted by the FDA.
Dr. Brian King, Director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, noted that approximately 2.1 million of the 2.8 million students who reported tobacco use in the past year were e-cigarette users.
Of significant concern is that 1 in 4 students who use e-cigarettes do so daily, with the vast majority (89.4%) opting for flavored products, according to the FDA.
Deirdre Lawrence Kittner, Director of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, acknowledged the progress in reducing high school e-cigarette use but cautioned, “our work is far from over.” She emphasized the need to continue preventing youths from initiating tobacco use and to support those who currently use tobacco in quitting.
The survey also highlighted that disposable e-cigarette products were most popular among middle school and high school students. Additionally, it included inquiries about concept flavors such as “iced” or “island bash” for the first time.