Awareness and Use of Heated Tobacco Products Among Middle School and High School Students, United States, 2019-2020

Nicotine Tob Res. 2022 Jul 13;24(8):1273-1280. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntac065.


Purpose: Heated tobacco products (HTP) heat-processed tobacco leaf into an aerosol inhaled by the user. This study assessed prevalence and correlates of HTP awareness, ever use, and current use among US middle and high school students.

Methods: Data came from the 2019 and 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey, a cross-sectional survey of US public and private, middle and high school students. HTP awareness, ever use, and current (past 30-day) use were assessed. Weighted prevalence estimates and adjusted prevalence ratios (aPR) were assessed overall and by sex, school level, race/ethnicity, and current other tobacco product use.

Results: In 2019, 12.8% (3.44 million) of all students reported HTP awareness, increasing to 19.3% (5.29 million) in 2020 (p < .01). Ever [2019: 2.6% (630 000); 2020: 2.4% (620 000)] and current [2019: 1.6% (420 000); 2020: 1.4% (370 000)] HTP use did not significantly change from 2019 to 2020. Current e-cigarette users were more likely to report ever (2020 aPR = 1.79, 95% CI:1.23, 2.62) or current HTP use (2019 aPR = 5.16, 95% CI: 3.48, 7.67; 2020 aPR = 3.39, 95% CI: 2.10, 5.47) than nonusers. In both years, ever and current HTP use was more likely among current combustible (aPR range = 3.59-8.17) and smokeless tobacco product (aPR range = 2.99-4.09) users than nonusers.

Conclusions: HTP awareness increased 51% among US students during 2019-2020; however, HTP use did not significantly change during this period. Students who used other tobacco products were more likely to currently use HTPs. Estimates of HTP awareness and use provided serve as a baseline as future monitoring of these products is warranted.

Implications: Awareness of heated tobacco products (HTPs) increased among US youth from 2019 to 2020; however, HTP use did not change. These estimates of HTP awareness and use serve as a baseline for future surveillance of these products as their availability in the US increases.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems*
  • Humans
  • Prevalence
  • Students
  • Tobacco Products*
  • Tobacco Use
  • United States / epidemiology