The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data from the 2023 National Youth Tobacco Survey on tobacco product use among U.S. youth. The findings, collected between March and June 2023, show that 10% of U.S. middle and high school students (2.8 million youth) reported current use of any tobacco product.
Current overall tobacco use among U.S. high school students declined from 2022 to 2023, from 16.5% to 12.6%. The decline is primarily attributed to reduced e-cigarette use (14.1% to 10%).
"It's encouraging to see this substantial decline in e-cigarette use among high schoolers within the past year, which is a win for public health," said Brian King, director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products. "But we can't rest on our laurels. There's more work to be done to build on this progress."
E-cigarettes remained the most commonly used tobacco product among both high school and middle school students for the 10th year in a row.
After filing 22 civil money penalty (CMPs) actions in September for the largest amounts sought to date, the FDA is announcing a new wave of enforcement actions targeting illegal e-cigarettes with youth appeal. The agency is seeking CMPs for similar amounts against 20 additional retailers for the sale of unauthorized Elf Bar products, the most popular brand among youth according to the 2023 NYTS.
A spokesperson from R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company offered a statement on the NYTS results:
“While we look forward to reviewing the underlying data from the National Youth Tobacco Survey, we are encouraged by the continuous decline in overall youth tobacco use, which is down 11.5% from 2022; and are similarly encouraged that overall cigarette use among youth continues to decline and is at all-time historic lows.
We are likewise encouraged to see the dramatic decline in overall youth e-cigarette use, which is down over 18% from 2022, and that among youth who reported using e-cigarettes in the past 30 days, any use of Vuse is down over 12% from 2022.
This is good news, and we agree with Dr. King that more needs to be done. Future progress requires regulators—especially FDA—to seriously address the influx of irresponsibly marketed, illegal flavored disposable vapor products. These products account for the vast majority of youth use and are flagrantly sold in youth-appealing flavors such as bubble gum and cotton candy. We call on FDA, in conjunction with state and local authorities, to strongly enforce against … illegal disposable products.
At Reynolds, we remain committed to preventing youth access to tobacco products and we responsibly market the products in our portfolio. We do not want our products in the hands of youth. Period.”