INDIANAPOLIS — Federal officials are continuing to address youth vaping amid a new report showing that many students continue to use e-cigarettes.
On Thursday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released federal data from the 2022 National Youth Tobacco Survey in coordination with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The study shows that around 1 in 10 U.S. middle and high school students reported having used e-cigarettes within the last 30 days. Among those, more than 1 in 4 reported daily use.
“The FDA remains deeply concerned about e-cigarette use among our nation’s youth. It’s clear that we still have a serious public health problem that threatens the years of progress we have made combatting youth tobacco product use,” said FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, M.D. “We cannot and will not let our guard down on this issue. The FDA remains steadfast in its commitment to using the full range of our authorities to address youth e-cigarette use head-on.”
The study also shows the majority of youth who used e-cigarettes reported using flavors. The most common flavor was fruit, followed by candy.
In 2020, Breathe Easy Hamilton County told FOX59 that kids get hooked on these products because of the flavors. At that time, the FDA banned all flavors except tobacco and menthol in Juul and other cartridge-based e-cigarettes.
While the ban targeted flavored, cartridge-based products, it left a blind spot in disposables. The Associated Press reports critics of the 2020 policy feared teens would simply switch to cheaper disposables, which are widely available at convenience stores and gas stations.
Since then, Reuters reports those fears were not unfounded. From the time the policy went into place, the U.S. market share of Juul decreased, while flavored disposables increased, passing Juul in February of 2022.
These disposable e-cigarettes are sold under brands like Puff Bar, Stig and Fogg in flavors such as pink lemonade, blueberry ice and tropical mango.
The survey found that current youth e-cigarette users usually used Puff Bar, Vuse, and Hyde. While Puff Bar and Vuse were pre-specified response options on the survey, students wrote in Hyde as their preferred brand.
The FDA is working on additional steps to address these popular brands. This includes issuing a warning letter to the businesses selling e-cigarettes as Puff Bar for receiving and delivering e-cigarettes in the U.S. without a marketing authorization order.
The FDA also issued marketing denial orders for applications for 32 Hyde e-cigarettes. The administration says its scientific review determined that the applications lacked sufficient evidence demonstrating that these flavored e-cigarettes would provide a benefit to adult users that would be adequate to outweigh the risks to youth.
“Congress gave the FDA authority to hold manufacturers and retailers who violate the law accountable,” said Brian King, Ph.D., M.P.H., director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. “FDA is actively working to identify violations and to swiftly seek corrective actions, particularly for products popular among youth. We will use all compliance and enforcement tools available to us, as appropriate, to protect our nation’s youth.”
These steps are a continuation of the FDA’s efforts to address e-cigarettes that appeal to youth. The FDA says firms submitting premarket tobacco applications must provide evidence that an e-cigarette will meet the public health standard, taking into account, among other things, the degree to which it promotes youth use of the product.