- On October 6, 2022, FDA and CDC released data from the 2022 National Youth Tobacco Survey, a school-based, cross-sectional, self-administered survey of U.S. middle school (grades 6–8) and high school (grades 9–12). The study was conducted from January to May 2022. According to the survey, 14.1% of U.S. high school students and 3.3% of middle school students reported having used an e-cigarette at least once in the last 30 days.
- This number is up slightly from 2021, when about 11.3% of high school students and 2.8% of middle school students reported using an e-cigarette at least once in the last month. That year, the survey was administered online as students around the country were engaged in remote learning due to COVID-19. As a result, FDA cautioned, “[d]ue to changes in methodology, including differences in survey administration and data collection procedures in recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ability to compare estimates from 2022 with those from prior NYTS waves is limited; differences between estimates might be due to changes in methodology, actual behavior, or both.”
- Overall, the 2022 numbers indicate a sharp decline from the 19.6% of high school students and 4.7% of middle school students who reported previous-month e-cigarette use in 2020, the last time the survey was conducted completely in schools, and just after the federal legal age to purchase tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, was officially raised from 18 to 21 in January 2020. The year before, in 2019, past-30 day youth vaping peaked at 27.5% of high schoolers and 10.5% of middle schoolers:
Past-30 day E-Cigarette Use Reported Among High Schoolers Past-30 day E-Cigarette Use Reported Among Middle Schoolers 2022 14.1% 3.3% 2021 11.3% 2.8% 2020 19.6% 4.7% 2019 27.5% 10.5%
- FDA emphasized that the number of minors vaping illegally is still far too great, and that much works needs to be done. “It’s clear that we still have a serious public health problem that threatens the years of progress we have made combatting youth tobacco product use,” said FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, “We cannot and will not let our guard down on this issue.”
- Also according to the CDC, traditional, combustible cigarette use among youth continues to fall to historically low levels. In 2021, 1.9% of high school students and 1.0% of middle school students reported smoking cigarettes in the past 30 days. A little over a decade ago, in 2011, 15.8% of high schoolers and 4.3% of middle schoolers reported smoking cigarettes.
- FDA also announced the issuance of a warning letter to the distributors of Puff Bar, the synthetic nicotine disposable e-cigarette brand most popular among those students who reported vaping, as well as a Marketing Denial Order (MDO) denying marketing authorization for the Hyde disposable e-cigarette. The manufacturer of that product, however, indicated in a press release that it had actually received a Refuse-to-Accept (RTA) letter for a technical error in its Premarket Tobacco Product Application (i.e., failure to include a translation certification for certain materials in its application that were not in English), and not an MDO, which follows after a scientific review of a marketing application.
- It is illegal for a retailer or distributor to sell or distribute e-cigarettes that the FDA has not authorized, and those who engage in such conduct are at risk of FDA enforcement, such as a seizure, injunction, or civil money penalty. All authorized e-cigarettes are posted on the FDA’s Tobacco Product Marketing Orders
- Be sure to follow our sister blog on tobacco and e-vapor matters, The Continuum of Risk, and register for Keller and Heckman’s Annual E-Vapor and Tobacco Law Symposium on February 15-16, 2023 in Irvine, California. Details and registration information can be found here.