After years of increasing popularity, vaping is down among American middle and high school students, according to a government report published June 15.
This is the first time the use of e-cigarettes has gone down among U.S. teenagers since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began keeping track of the popularity of vaping amid teens in 2011. According to the report, the use of e-cigarettes decreased among middle and high school students from 3 million in 2015 to 2.2 million in 2016. Overall tobacco use among children fell from 4.7 million in 2015 to 3.9 million in 2016, according to the CDC.
What are E-Cigarettes?
Electronic cigarettes, commonly called e-cigarettes and also known as electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), are battery-operated devices designed to deliver nicotine with flavorings and other chemicals to users in vapor instead of smoke. Most contain three different components, including:
- A cartridge, which holds a liquid solution containing nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals
- A vaporizer (heating device)
- A power source (battery)
E-cigarettes are being manufactured to resemble traditional tobacco cigarettes, cigars, pipes, or even everyday items like pens or USB memory sticks, and more than 250 different brands are currently available on the market. Although e-cigarettes do not produce tobacco smoke, they contain nicotine, a highly addictive drug. Recent research also suggests that e-cigarettes may serve as a “gateway drug” that could make users more likely to use and become addicted to other drugs.
Up until 2016, the use of e-cigarettes, including vape pens, e-hookah, e-cigars, and other nicotine delivery systems had been greatly increasing worldwide. In the U.S., e-cigarettes were the most commonly used tobacco product among middle (5.3%) and high (16.0%) school students, according to statistics compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).