Youth Vaping: The Use of E-Cigarettes May Rebound with the Return to School 

A decrease in youth vaping has been reported in 2021, due to the restrictive nature of the pandemic and students engaging in remote learning. Vaping among teens continues to be a serious concern as students return to in-person school and activities. 

E-cigarettes originated as traditional cigarette alternatives. Although this sounds partially beneficial on the surface, it is important to view the transition of the trend from being helpful to a youth-based fad. A recent report, the National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS), produced by the FDA partnered with the CDC stated that approximately 2.06 million U.S. high school and middle school students expressed they had vaped in 2021. The most popular choice by teens is the e-cigarette, as about 1 in 5 students vape. 

While it is true that there are fewer cancer-causing chemicals in vape aerosols, it is far from harmless. The aerosol for vape contains nicotine, the highly addictive substance that can harm brain development. The nicotine can produce formaldehyde when the liquid is heated to high temperatures, which may take place in e-cigarette devices. The aerosol can also contain heavy metals, such as lead. Flavorings for vape that are a popular choice among teens are made from diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease. 

NYTS Findings

Although the numbers collected from the National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) indicate a decline, because of the circumstances of the study (regarding the COVID-19 pandemic), experts say there should not be any comparison between previous surveys. With students in a remote learning environment, the accessibility of vape and e-cigarette products may have been a factor in the numbers provided. 

The findings on tobacco use concluded that e-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among students. Of the students surveyed, current use indicated 39.4% used e-cigarettes within the past 30 days. Of the students who vaped, an astonishing 84.7% reported using flavored products

The CDC has a public health effort, the National and State Tobacco Control Program, with a mission to help educate youths on the dangers of these tobacco products and use resources to help them quit and prevent them from starting. It’s a constant battle to get these anti-tobacco campaigns in front of teens when they are consistently exposed to marketing through social media, magazines, television, and more.

The NYTS is aimed at presenting data on the use of tobacco amongst youths in the U.S. to help health agencies review the trends and create and implement tobacco prevention and control programs. Individual schools partner with these health programs to get more anti-tobacco information before the students.

Innovative Technology Solutions

Innovative technology exists today to help detect vape chemicals through sensors. The Smart Vape Detector sends an immediate, location-specific alert to designated personnel when vape is sensed. The devices are placed in locations where cameras cannot be placed for more preventative measures.

“The device sends an immediate, location-specific alert to designated personnel when vape is sensed.”

Schools are working hard to integrate restrictive measures and innovative technology solutions into their buildings in order to fight youth vaping. For ICAS, it’s critical to continue supporting schools by offering the best technological solution to protect young people from the risks associated with vaping and e-cigarettes. 

Vape detection can be a powerful tool to cease vaping and help prevent it from happening in schools. 

The Bottom Line

We have seen signs of improvement in the number of young vaping users over the past year or so. With in-person learning and activities now in full swing, the numbers may rise once again. 

It is vital to stay educated and advocate for safer and healthier environments for our communities. Keeping up on technology, research, and studies is key!

Learn more about our Smart Vape Detector and how it can assist your organization.