Teen Vaping Usage Drops Around 40% amid School Closures Due to COVID Pandemic, New Report Says

"Kids faced less peer pressure and reduced access to e-cigarettes because of additional time at home, remote learning and other pandemic restrictions," Matt Myers, the president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said

Vaping
Photo: Getty Images

The number of teenagers vaping across the United States has dropped significantly amid school closures due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 11.3% of high school students and less than 3% of middle school students said they recently used e-cigarettes and other vaping products.

The finding means that teen vaping use dropped about 40% from 2020 to 2021, according to the Associated Press. Last year, nearly 20% of high school students and 4.7% of middle schoolers said they'd recently vaped, a prior report from both organizations said.

Per the AP, should this year's numbers remain, the findings in the study would mark the second time that vape usage in teens has decreased. In 2019, 27.5% of high schoolers reported using e-cigarettes while 10.5% of middle school students reported the same.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

Vaping
Getty Images

Part of the government's annual National Youth Tobacco Survey, the data comes from a "school-based, cross-sectional, self-administered survey" of middle school students in grades 6 through 8 and high school students in grades 9 through 12.

Per the study, the data was collected this year between Jan. 18 and May 21. There, 20,413 students from 279 schools took part in the survey with an overall response rate of 44.6%.

Want to get the biggest stories from PEOPLE every weekday? Subscribe to our new podcast, PEOPLE Every Day, to get the essential celebrity, entertainment and human interest news stories Monday through Friday.

Vaping
Getty Images

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, data from the survey was received online "to allow participation of eligible students in remote learning settings," the study said. In years before the current health crisis, the survey was conducted in person inside school classrooms.

The study — which was reviewed and approved by the CDC's Institutional Review Boards — assessed current vape usage overall by frequency of use, device type, flavors and usual brand. Weighted prevalence estimates and population totals were also calculated, the study noted.

RELATED VIDEO: Doug the Pug Teams Up with Truth for Anti-Vaping Campaign

Matt Myers, the president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said in a statement that it comes as no surprise that the study saw a drop in teen vape usage.

"A decline in the number of youth reporting e-cigarette use would not be surprising as half of participating kids completed the survey from home and kids faced less peer pressure and reduced access to e-cigarettes because of additional time at home, remote learning and other pandemic restrictions," Myers said, per The Hill.

But, with children mostly back in school now, Myers warned that teen vape usage could once again find itself back on the rise.

"As kids return to school, we face the real risk of a resurgence of the youth e-cigarette epidemic unless the FDA quickly eliminates all flavored e-cigarettes," he added.

Related Articles