Youth Vaping and Tobacco Use in Context in the United States: Results From the 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey

Nicotine Tob Res. 2021 Feb 16;23(3):447-453. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntaa010.


Introduction: According to the National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS), youth e-cigarette use (vaping) rose between 2017 and 2018. Frequency of vaping and concurrent past 30-day (p30d) use of e-cigarettes and tobacco products have not been reported.

Methods: We analyzed the 2018 NYTS (N = 20 189) for vaping among all students (middle and high school; 6-12th grades; 9-19 years old) by frequency of vaping, exclusive vaping, p30d poly-product use (vaping and use of one or more tobacco product), and any past tobacco product use.

Results: In 2018, 81.4% of students had not used any tobacco or vapor product in the p30d, and 86.2% had not vaped in the p30d. Among all students, of the 13.8% vaped in the p30d, just over half vaped on ≤5 days (7.0%), and roughly a quarter each vaped on 6-19 days (3.2%) and on 20+ days (3.6%). Almost three quarters of p30d vapers (9.9%) reported past or concurrent tobacco use and the remainder (3.9%) were tobacco naïve. 2.8% of students were tobacco naïve and vaped on ≤5 days; 0.7% were tobacco-naïve and vaped on 6-19 days, and 0.4% were tobacco-naïve and vaped on 20+ days.

Conclusions: Vaping increased among US youth in 2018 over 2017. The increases are characterized by patterns of low p30d vaping frequency and high poly-product use, and a low prevalence of vaping among more frequent but tobacco naïve vapers.

Implications: Results underscore the importance of including the full context of use patterns. The majority of vapers (60.0%-88.9% by use frequency) were concurrent p30d or ever tobacco users. About 4% of students were tobacco naïve and vaped in the p30d, but few (0.4%) vaped regularly on 20 or more days. Reporting youth vaping data with frequency and tobacco product co-use will give public health decision-makers the best possible information to protect public health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Schools / statistics & numerical data
  • Students / psychology
  • Students / statistics & numerical data*
  • Tobacco Use / epidemiology*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vaping / epidemiology*
  • Young Adult