DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – The number of teens using tobacco products is skyrocketing.
More than one million kids in the United States ages 14 to 17 became daily tobacco users from 2017 to 2019, that’s according to new research from the University of California San Diego.
Most of those teens were vaping e-cigarettes daily.
“This study captures the greatest increase of e-cigarette use that we saw in the United States and that over the past couple of years, from 2019 to 2022, we have seen a pretty substantial decrease in e-cigarette use,” said Dr. James Davis, Medical Director for the Duke Center for Smoking Cessation.
Researchers found the jump in tobacco use among teens coincides with the explosion in popularity of the e-cigarette brand Juul.
Since then, there’s been a national effort to highlight the harms of e-cigarette use, including an FDA ban on flavored e-cigarette products that appeal to kids.
Davis says the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes are unknown.
“But we’re starting to see data come in to show that in fact there are negative effects from using e-cigarettes and from that aerosol on the lungs,” he said.
Researchers say vaping is reversing decades of decline in tobacco addiction.
Davis says all the treatments he uses for smokers, he now uses for those vaping e-cigarettes.
“When I see a young e-cigarette user, they often have severe addiction, they often have addiction that’s very difficult to overcome,” Davis said. “I would say to parents if they have a child who is using e-cigarettes to get help. It’s not as simple as saying well just cut it out or you know it’s bad for you just quit.”
There is treatment available.
For more information to reduce or quit your smoking or tobacco use, click here.