Over 1 in 4 high school students (27.5%) vaped in 2019, compared to only 1.5% in 2011. There's a clear need for a strong public health warning about vaping.
Nicotine is a very addictive drug. It doesn't cause the effects that drugs like opioids, marijuana or alcohol do. But it changes the way your brain works, especially if your brain is under age 26 or so. It can cause problems wih learning, memory, attention, and addiction.
Most adults and youth choose not to smoke cigarettes. According to the CDC, current cigarette smoking among adults fell from nearly 21% in 2005 to 14% in 2017. For high schoolers, current smoking fell from about 16% in 2011 to about 6% in 2019. And for middle schoolers, current smoking rates fell from about 4.3% to a little under 2%. These decreases indicate the public health campaign against smoking tobacco has had some success.
As the number of cigarette smokers drop, however, the number of people who use electronic cigarettes has grown, especially among youth. E-cigarettes are now the most popular tobacco product among youth.
There is very little data on the long-term health effects of vaping, but ETR's pamphlet on vaping emphasizes the facts we definitely know: vaping hurts your lungs, discarded vapes are toxic for the environment, all forms of nicotine are addictive and vape juice is especially toxic for children and animals. This pamphlet:
- Explains that nicotine is dangerous and addictive
- Discusses the potential harm of secondhand vape aerosol
- Notes that vape waste is toxic for the environment
- Urges teens to make informed decisions about vaping