Teen vaping levels remained high in 2020 but have not increased substantially since 2019, according to results from the annual Monitoring the Future survey, which is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
Students in eighth, 10th, and 12th grade were surveyed regarding substance use behaviors during various prevalence periods. From Feb. 11 to March 14, 2020, 11,821 surveys were collected in 112 schools before data collection was prematurely stopped due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
From 2017 to 2019, the percentage of teenagers who said they vaped nicotine in the previous 12 months increased from 7.5 to 16.5 percent for eighth graders, from 15.8 to 30.7 percent for 10th graders, and from 18.8 to 35.3 percent for 12th graders. The rates remained stable in 2020, at 16.6, 30.7, and 34.5 percent, respectively. For past-year vaping of marijuana, results were similar, with steady rates of 8.1 percent for eighth graders, 19.1 percent for 10th graders, and 22.1 percent for 12th graders in 2020, following about twofold increases from 2017 to 2019. Among 10th graders, there was a significant decrease noted in daily marijuana vaping, from 3.0 to 1.7 percent from 2019 to 2020.
“The rapid rise of teen nicotine vaping in recent years has been unprecedented and deeply concerning since we know that nicotine is highly addictive and can be delivered at high doses by vaping devices, which may also contain other toxic chemicals that may be harmful when inhaled,” NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow, M.D., said in a statement. “It is encouraging to see a leveling off of this trend, though the rates still remain very high.”