U.S. teen vaping numbers climb, fueled by Juul and mint flavor

  • U.S. teen vaping numbers climb, fueled by Juul and mint flavor

U.S. teen vaping numbers climb, fueled by Juul and mint flavor

The findings cast doubt on the effectiveness of Juul voluntarily pulling its e-cigarette product in some flavors but leaving mint, menthol and tobacco on the market.

Of the approximately 42,500 participants in the nationally representative survey, one-third was asked additional questions about their preferred flavors of the popular e-cigarette brand Juul.

More than one in every four USA high school students (27.5%) now vape, a new study shows. The study found that mint was the most popular flavor among Juul users in 10th and 12th grades and the second-most popular among middle-schoolers.

"In 2019, the prevalence of self-reported e-cigarette use was high among high school and middle school students, with many current e-cigarette users reporting frequent use and most of the exclusive e-cigarette users reporting use of flavored e-cigarettes", concluded a team led by Karen Cullen of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Of teens who self-reported using Juul e-cigarettes in 2019, mint was the most popular flavor in 10th and 12th grades and the second most popular in eighth grade, behind mango. Flavors of other similar e-cigarette products are still widely available, except in a handful of states that have banned them. In contrast, less than 6% of teenagers across all grades preferred menthol.

When the ban was initially announced in September, the FDA said that a growing share of young users are trying menthol or mint flavors, citing data from the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey, which has not yet been fully released. The Trump administration has proposed banning virtually all vaping flavors.

"We have a whole generation of young people who are addicted to these products", said Ylioja, who was not involved in the studies.

E-cigarettes typically heat a solution that contains nicotine, which makes cigarettes and e-cigarettes addictive.

"The March 2019 policy to restrict the sale of flavored e-cigs in convenience stores, but allow them in adult only vape shops, was aimed at preserving the adult segment for adult smokers seeking to quit, while taking products most widely used by kids out of the leakiest channel", Gottlieb wrote.

Erika Sward, spokeswoman for the American Lung Association, said the findings "call for drastic action to be taken".

While critics of the sale of e-cigarettes in United States have cited vape lung as a pressing issue, Chinese authorities are concerned that minors are increasingly using sites like Taobao, JD.com and others to buy the devices and are not required to show any identification to verify their age when buying e-cigarettes online.

But health groups and anti-vaping advocates worry that regulators may be backing away from their original proposal.

In addition to Leventhal, the study's authors are Jessica Barrington-Trimis of the Keck School of Medicine; Richard Miech, Lloyd Johnston and Patrick O'Malley of the University of MI; and Megan Patrick of the University of Minnesota.

The San Francisco-based Juul, the best-selling vaping brand in the country, stopped selling some flavors a year ago in stores and only sold them online.