Youth E-Cigarette Use Remains at Critical Levels

Latest Youth Use Data Underscore Need for FDA to Act Quickly in Removing Flavored E-Cigarettes, Including Menthol, and Asserting its Drug Jurisdiction Over Synthetic Nicotine

In response to the release of the 2021 National Youth Tobacco Survey from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, American Lung Association National President and CEO Harold Wimmer released the following statement:   

“Despite the intervening pandemic, the 2021 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) data paint a grim picture of youth vaping in the U.S. – kids are lured by flavors and are becoming regular users. The NYTS data report more than two million middle and high school students using e-cigarettes in 2021. The American Lung Association is particularly alarmed at the frequency of use by teens: 43.6% of high school students who use e-cigarettes are vaping regularly (20 or more of the past 30 days), and more than 1 in 4 (27.6%) are vaping daily. This regular use underscores how addicted youth have become to e-cigarettes.   

“While the 2021 NYTS data cannot be compared to previous CDC National Youth Tobacco Surveys due to the COVID-19 pandemic requiring changes in survey design and methodology, the facts remain quite clear: youth vaping continues to be a serious public health concern that requires immediate action at the federal, state and local levels.  

“Flavored e-cigarette use among kids remained extremely high, underscoring the American Lung Association’s call to remove all flavored tobacco products from the marketplace. Almost 85% of middle and high school students who vape reported using flavored e-cigarettes, with the top four flavors being fruit, candy/desserts/other sweets, mint and menthol.  Kids continue to follow the available e-cigarette flavors; with the top one being fruit at 72% and close to 30% of youth e-cigarette users report using menthol e-cigarettes. Ultimately, these data make a powerful case for FDA to end the sale of all flavored e-cigarette products to put an end to the youth e-cigarette epidemic.   

“While FDA has rejected applications of many flavored products through its premarket review process, NYTS data point to the alarming use of disposable e-cigarettes (53.7% compared to 28.7% for prefilled pods or cartridges). Brands including Juul and Vuse remain on the market, and in fact, the most popular brand of disposable e-cigarette currently remains outside of FDA’s tobacco authority.  Puff Bar is now the most popular brand among kids and is sold in a variety of fruit and candy-flavors. Puff Bar is one of many new products that claim to use synthetic nicotine, which is not currently regulated by FDA. Synthetic nicotine-based e-cigarettes threaten to create a huge loophole in FDA’s oversight of tobacco products and addict millions more kids. It is imperative that FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) assert its jurisdiction over synthetic nicotine to stop the tobacco industry’s end run around the law.  States must act to halt the sale of these products absent federal action. 

“The NYTS data underscore the Lung Association’s urgent call to action for policy makers at the federal, state and local level to act to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including products made with synthetic nicotine.” 

For media interested in speaking with an expert, contact the American Lung Association at or at 312-940-7001.  

For more information, contact:

Jill Dale

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