Cite this article

NIDA. (2018, December 17). Survey Sends Smoke Signals: Teens Are Vaping at Increasing Rates. Retrieved from

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The NIDA Blog Team
December 17 2018
Teen Drug Use Infographic promo
Image by NIDA

Update (January 2020): Government Regulation of E-cigarettes 

In 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) established a rule for e-cigarettes and their liquid solutions. Because e-cigarettes contain nicotine derived from tobacco, they are now subject to government regulation as tobacco products. In December 2019, the federal government raised the legal minimum age of sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21 years, and in January 2020, the FDA issued a policy on the sale of flavored vaping cartridges. 

Update (November 2019): Reports of Deaths Related to Vaping

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has alerted the public to thousands of reports of serious lung illnesses associated with vaping, including dozens of deaths. They’re working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to investigate the cause of these illnesses. The CDC has posted an information page for consumers

For the latest information (as of April 2020), read this blog post.


The results are in for the 2018 Monitoring the Future survey. The annual survey measures drug and alcohol use of more than 44,000 8th, 10th, and 12th graders from across the country. It also measures attitudes and trends. This year, teens reported a dramatic increase in using vaping devices like JUUL (also called e-cigarettes), in just a single year.

Over 37.3 percent of 12th graders reported “any vaping” in the past 12 months, compared to just 27.8 percent in 2017.  Seniors who reported use of vaping specifically nicotine nearly doubled, too.  Both 8th and 10th graders also reported an increase in use in the last year, which translates into a total of about 1.3 million more teens who vaped in 2018.

“Teens are clearly attracted to the marketable technology and flavorings seen in vaping devices,” says NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow. “However, it is urgent that teens understand the possible effects of vaping on overall health.”

With tempting flavors and attractive devices, there are a number of reasons why teens may not connect vaping with tobacco or nicotine, and don’t realize there could be harmful health consequences:

  • Flavoring might cover up the taste of nicotine.
  • Vaping liquid vials are not always labeled correctly.
  • Many teens use devices bought by other people. 

It's also important to note that some of the popular devices on the market, including JUUL, don’t offer vaping liquid without nicotine. 

Maybe you’ve seen an increase in classmates vaping? In this video, Dr. Volkow further explores why teens may be attracted to vapingand what they're vaping.