American Lung Association: New Youth Tobacco Use Data Show Fewer Teens Overall Using Tobacco Products, including E-Cigarettes; Renewed Concern About Flavored Products and Middle School Tobacco Use

2023 National Youth Tobacco Survey data reveals urgent need for more enforcement against illegal flavored products

In response to the release of the 2023 National Youth Tobacco Survey tobacco use data 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:  

“Our nation is making some progress in reducing tobacco use overall, but policy makers at all levels must keep the focus on protecting our nation’s youth. The American Lung Association is encouraged that fewer high school students are using e-cigarettes, with over half a million fewer vaping compared to what was reported last year. Youth high school tobacco use overall declined from 16.5% to 12.6%. That means we are making important progress in both preventing older teens from starting to use tobacco products, including vaping, and in helping them quit. 

“The news for middle school students is alarming. The CDC report shows there was a significant increase in tobacco use among middle school students. This year’s report showed that tobacco use overall for middle school students increased by nearly 50% from 4.5% to 6.6%. This is a stark reminder that more work is needed to protect younger children.

“The report shows that over 2.1 million youth are still vaping, and over 25% of them are using the product daily. Daily use indicates a very high addiction rate. Other research shows that the high level of nicotine in many e-cigarettes is extremely addictive. The Lung Association has been working to help people quit nicotine for more than 50 years, so we know how challenging it can be. We all must work together to ensure that there are resources available to help teens quit vaping for good. 

“The new data also continue to show that youth are attracted to flavored products. Nearly 90% of the youth survey respondents reported using flavored e-cigarette products, including mint and menthol. In addition, of the youth who smoke, 40.4% smoke menthol cigarettes. Flavored tobacco products remain the primary gateway for youth addiction.

“The American Lung Association calls on the Biden administration to prioritize protecting children from tobacco. These numbers underscore the urgent need for the White House to finalize the Food and Drug Administration rules to end the sales of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars as soon as possible.
Further, we urge the FDA to not authorize the sale of any flavored e-cigarettes, including menthol. And, we call for more federal enforcement against distributors, importers and wholesalers who continue to sell illegal e-cigarette products. We also encourage state and local policymakers to pass laws to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products in their states and communities. 

“The American Lung Association remains concerned about the short- and long-term impacts of youth e-cigarette use, and will continue to invest in education, advocacy and research to end the youth vaping epidemic.”

The Lung Association has resources to prevent tobacco use and help youth quit, specifically designed for schools, parents and teens, including TalkAboutVaping, our Vape-Free Schools Initiative, Not On Tobacco, and more resources available online

For more information, contact:

Jill Dale
[email protected]

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