Analyzing cross-sectional data from the CDC’s National Youth Tobacco Survey data between 1999 and 2020, researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have found that cigarette smoking amongst teens has consistently decreased in parallel with an increase in vaping.
The CDC’s any tobacco product use measurement, a binary measurement which asks if someone has used any tobacco product in the past 30 days, fails to differentiate between nicotine products’ in terms of their risks.
The research team found that while the use of e-cigarettes has drastically increased since 2014 and is the most commonly used nicotine or tobacco product among middle and high school students, this has led to a sharp decrease in the use of more harmful combustible tobacco products.
They also found that the CDC’s any tobacco product use measurement, a binary measurement which asks if someone has used any tobacco product in the past 30 days, fails to differentiate between the use nicotine products’ in terms of their risks. “The majority of cigarette brands contain similar ingredients, concentration and chemicals,” said Ruoyan Sun, Ph.D., assistant professor in the UAB School of Public Health’s Department of Health Care Organization and Policy and a study researcher.
“Conversely, there are a wide variety of e-cigarette products with different chemical levels and makeups. To track nicotine and tobacco use patterns and their associated risks more accurately, surveys need to account for the frequency of product use and product-specific risks.”
Utah’s vaping rates are dropping
Meanwhile, results from Utah’s Student Health and Risk Prevention (SHARP) survey released earlier this month revealed that substance abuse, as well as vaping, is down among youth across the State.
Discussing the findings, spokesperson for the Utah Department of Health (UDOH), Ryan Bartlett said that the sharp decrease in teen vaping rates is likely a result of health concerns especially in the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic. “What we saw this year was a very sharp decrease in vaping. It was only a few years ago that then-Surgeon General Jerome Adams announced that vaping was an epidemic among the youth. Current data shows this is a downward trend across the country,” said Bartlett.