The use of electronic cigarettes by middle and high school students in the United States has dropped for the first time since the federal government started tracking the use of these products by young people.
The number of teenagers using e-cigarettes fell from 3 million in 2015 to 2.2 million in 2016, according to a report published Thursday in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
“It’s actually quite remarkable from a public health standpoint,” says Brian King, deputy director for research translation in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Office on Smoking and Health, which produced the report.
Before the drop, the CDC had documented an exponential increase in the use of e-cigarettes by young people between 2011 and 2015, King says. That prompted widespread alarm among public health authorities. The devices were first imported into the U.S. from China in 2006.
E-cigarettes are devices that heat up a fluid containing nicotine to produce a vapor that users inhale; thus their use is sometimes called “vaping.”