As the most common form of tobacco use in teenagers, e-cigarette use among this age group is skyrocketing. The epidemic is so widespread that it has effectively wiped out all of the gains made to reduce the amount of teen tobacco use that had been made over the last few years.
A Monday report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that there has been a 1.3 million increase in teen tobacco users from 2017 to 2018. The report specifically called out vaping giant Juul as one of the biggest culprits for the rapid gain.
Brian King, a deputy director in the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, said that the escalation of vaping was the biggest jump in any tobacco product usage since they started tracking the data in 1999.
According to the National Youth Tobacco survey, 27 percent of high school students and 7.2 percent of middle school students said they used tobacco at least one day during the month. Of all tobacco products, e-cigarettes are the most commonly used product by teens. The rise in usage is stark. 1.5 million more teens are using e-cigarettes in 2018 compared to 2017.
King puts the onus on Juul for the sharp increase. Sales of Juul rose by approximately 600 percent between 2016 and 2017. The company also holds a 70 percent market share of the industry. Juul has been widely criticized for its aggressive marketing to teens by promoting a myriad of sweet flavors designed to entice the youth.
To combat the issue, the US Food and Drug Administration announced in November a variety of new restrictions placed on e-cigarette manufacturers. Most of these restrictions are age-based regulations.
Juul spokeswoman Victoria Davis said on Monday that the company continues to be committed to reduce the underage use of the product.