Reasons for Electronic Cigarette Use Among Middle and High School Students—National Youth Tobacco Survey, United States, 2016

February 16, 2018 / Vol. 67 / No. 6



MMWR Introduction

The Surgeon General has concluded that e-cigarettes can contain harmful and potentially harmful constituents, including nicotine; exposure to nicotine during adolescence can cause addiction and can harm the developing adolescent brain. To assess self-reported reasons for e-cigarette use among U.S. middle school (grades 6–8) and high school (grades 9–12) student e-cigarette users, CDC and the Food and Drug Administration analyzed data from the 2016 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS). In 2016, e-cigarettes were the most common tobacco product used among adolescents, although the overall prevalence of use declined from previous years.

Continued efforts are important to further reduce all forms of tobacco product use, including e-cigarettes, among U.S. youths. As noted by the Surgeon General, population-level strategies include incorporating e-cigarettes into smoke-free indoor air policies, restricting youth access to e-cigarettes in retail settings, licensing retailers, and establishing specific package requirements.


MMWR Highlights

Reasons for e-cigarette use among middle and high school students, overall and by sex and race or ethnicity, NYTS, 2016

“Friend or family member used them”
  • Overall-39.0%
  • Boys-32.2%
  • Girls-46.7%
  • White-38.7%
  • Black-36.7%
  • Hispanic-39.9%
  • Other race-43.0%
“They are available in flavors, such as mint, candy, fruit, or chocolate”
  • Overall-31.0%
  • Boys-31.4%
  • Girls-30.6%
  • White-29.0%
  • Black-33.5%
  • Hispanic-34.6%
  • Other race-32.1%
“They are less harmful than other forms of tobacco, such as cigarettes”
  • Overall-17.1%
  • Boys-19.9%
  • Girls-13.9%
  • White-16.5%
  • Black-12.7%
  • Hispanic-18.9%
“To try to quit using tobacco products, such as cigarettes”
  • Overall-7.8%
  • Boys-8.7%
  • Girls-6.8%
  • White-10.0%
  • Hispanic-5.2%
“They can be used in areas where other tobacco products, such as cigarettes, are not allowed”
  • Overall-7.0%
  • Boys-7.2%
  • Girls-6.7%
  • White-7.3%
  • Hispanic-7.2%
“They are easier to get than other tobacco products, such as cigarettes”
  • Overall-4.8%
  • Boys-5.0%
  • Girls-4.7%
  • White-4.5%
  • Hispanic-5.9%
“They cost less than other tobacco products, such as cigarettes”
  • Overall-3.2%
  • Boys-3.9%
  • Girls-2.5%
  • White-3.6%
“Famous people on TV or in movies use them”
  • Overall-1.5%
Some other reason
  • Overall-31.6%
  • Boys-31.5%
  • Girls-31.6%
  • White-32.1%
  • Black-29.4%
  • Hispanic-30.9%
  • Other race-31.8%


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