A recent study found that more than 2.55 million US middle and high school students reported current e-cigarette use in 2022.
According to the study from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 14.1% of high school students and 3.3% of middle school students reported smoking e-cigarettes in the past 30 days.
Of those, more than one in four (27.6%) used them daily, and more than four in 10 (42.3%) used them on 20 or more of the past 30 days.
Most (85.5%) respondents said they used flavored e-cigarettes, including flavors of fruits (69.1% of respondents), candy, desserts, or other sweets (38.3%), mint (29.4%), and menthol (26.6%).
"Adolescent e-cigarette use in the United States remains at concerning levels, and poses a serious public health risk to our nation's youth," Brian King, PhD, MPH, director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products, said in a statement.
According to Cancer Research UK, the world's largest independent cancer research organization, e-cigarettes are less harmful than smoking, as they do not contain tobacco or involve combustion.
Moreover, there is no smoke, tar, or carbon monoxide. E-cigarettes do, however, contain addictive nicotine, but it is not responsible for the major health harms caused by smoking.
But it does not mean that e-cigarettes are harmless. Last year, John Hopkins University researchers found nearly 2,000 chemicals, the vast majority of which are unidentified, in e-cigarettes. Of those the team could identify, six substances were potentially harmful.
The authors of the study, findings of which were published in the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology, found three industrial chemicals, a pesticide, and two flavorings linked with possible toxic effects and respiratory irritation.
In 2019, the CDC reported an outbreak of lung injury associated with the use of the e-cigarette, or vaping, products (EVALI). As of February 18, 2020, a total of 2,807 hospitalized EVALI cases or deaths have been confirmed across the US.
A recent report from the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) says that 40% of cancer cases in the US are attributable to preventable causes, such as tobacco use.
While smoking rates among adults have been declining since the 1970s, report authors say that the popularity of electronic cigarettes among US youth and young adults "threatens to reverse the significant progress against tobacco use."