It turns out that the pandemic has reaped one unexpected benefit: As teens were kept home more often, their use of electronic cigarettes dropped by nearly 40%, a new report finds.
“They found a dramatic drop from last year, and it’s hard to imagine that doesn’t represent a real decrease in use among high school and middle school students,” Dr. Nancy Rigotti of Harvard University tells the Associated Press.
The survey found that 11% of high school students and less than 3% of middle school students said they had recently used e-cigarettes and other vaping products.
The year before, almost 20% of high school students and nearly 5% of middle schoolers had used e-cigarettes, the AP reports.
Why the decline?
There are a few reasons for the decline in teen vaping:
1. Teens often vape socially
U.S. health officials said these numbers should be taken with a grain of salt, but the decrease in vaping in 2021 is probably real and makes sense because teens often vape socially, one expert told the AP.
2. Teen vaping was already on the decline
Before the pandemic, teen vaping was already on the decline as federal laws increased the age for the purchase of all tobacco and vaping products from 18 to 21, the AP reports. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also banned most flavored e-cigarette cartridges, which were driving the popularity of vaping among teens.
3. Deaths and illnesses
Some teens may have also reacted to the outbreak of vaping-related illnesses and deaths from vaping liquids that contained