Adolescent Vaping – Part I

As if there wasn’t already enough to worry about while raising tweens and teens successfully into adulthood, vaping among young people continues to be a huge problem in the United States. Both middle school and high school-aged students are vaping at alarming rates, and that trend doesn’t appear to be ending anytime soon. Instead, it’s getting significantly worse.

According to the latest data, 11% of middle school students and 28% of high school students surveyed reported that they have used e-cigarettes at least once within the past month.

And that data is even more concerning when you look directly at the number of high school students who admit to vaping by their senior year. According to the latest polls, roughly 37.3% of 12th graders in the US have vaped within the past 12 months.

To put this into perspective, in a single year, the estimated number of underage kids using any type of vaping products jumped from an estimated 3.6 million to an astounding 5.3 million adolescents in the U.S.  Parents have every right to be concerned that their tween or teen will be next if they aren’t already using these products.

What attracts tweens and teens to vaping in the first place? The flavors! Studies show that 60% of adolescent users prefer the Juul brand products and 60% of adolescents enjoy mint or menthol flavors the most.

How does the data on vape usage among adolescents compare with the data collected on adults?  The latest data show that 14.9% of adults have vaped at some point in their lives.  Only 3.2% of adults were currently using e-cigarettes on a regular basis. This means that roughly 8.1 million adults in the U.S. vape.  Compared to the 37.3% of 12th graders, usage in adolescents is more than double.  It’s reasonable to assume that the number of adult vapers will continue to rise as young people start the habit at an early age.

Vape usage isn’t equal across the country, so certain areas will see different levels of vape sales among both younger and older users as compared to other regions.  The states leading sales of vape-related products include Oklahoma, Louisiana, Nevada, Ohio, Tennessee, and Kentucky.  The states lagging in sales of vape-related products include Washington, D.C., South Dakota, California, Maryland, and Vermont.

Other important things to keep in mind about vaping:

  • Vaping jumped 1,800%  between 2011 and 2019 among underaged users
  • ⅔ of Juul users aged 15 to 21 don’t realize that the products they use contain nicotine
  • 30% of kids who try vaping will start using other tobacco products within 6 months

It’s important to note that many of these statistics represent the use of any type of vaping product including the e-liquids that are full of nicotine and those full of THC which is found in marijuana vape juice.