NYTS 2023 – VTA Calls on FDA to Approve Flavored E-Cigarettes for Adult Tobacco Harm Reduction After Another Massive Drop in 2023 Youth Vaping Rate
Published on November 2, 2023
WASHINGTON – November 2, 2023 – The Vapor Technology Association (VTA) today called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) to immediately start communicating with adult smokers about the scientifically proven harm reduction and smoking cessation benefits of e-cigarettes and start approving a wide variety of e-cigarettes, including flavored products. Study after study has shown that flavored e-cigarettes are proven to be the most effective products available on the market to help adults reduce their use of combustible tobacco or quit altogether.
The call from VTA comes after newly released 2023 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that the U.S. youth vaping rate dropped another 4 percentage points from 2022 and now sits at 10% – the lowest level in more than a decade even amid broad availability of flavored vapes in the market.
According to CDC data from 2019 and 2023, the youth vaping rate in the U.S. plunged a massive 61% since it peaked in 2019.
“While last year’s dramatically reduced youth vaping figure justified the CTP’s decision to stop referring to youth vaping as an ‘epidemic,’ this latest 2023 NYTS data validates CTP’s decision,” said Tony Abboud, executive director of the Vapor Technology Association (VTA). “It is now clear that any claim about a persistent youth vaping epidemic in the U.S. can only be considered anti-scientific.”
The youth vaping rate has fallen to a 10-year low despite the continued availability of flavored nicotine vaping products. This fact fundamentally rejects the misinformation refrain spread by regulators and activists that flavors drive youth vaping.
Year after year, the CDC NYTS survey has revealed that flavors are not even one of the top six reasons youth vape, with a mere 6.4% of youth citing flavors as the reason they vape in the CDC NYTS 2022 survey. However, the CDC did not disclose the answer to this question in this year’s survey and instead chose to fill its report with a variety of details related to youth use that have nothing to do with why they vape – a critical part of past surveys.
“Because youth vaping continues to plummet despite the wide availability of flavored products, and because flavored e-cigarettes have been proven to help adult smokers quit, it’s time for the FDA to acknowledge and promote their benefits for adult smokers,” continued Abboud. “This year’s NYTS data is a clear sign that FDA actions, which have been myopically focused on denigrating flavored e-cigarettes to ‘protect youth’ are dangerous and misinformed.”
“In light of these latest findings, VTA renews the call it made at last week’s Food and Drug Law Institute Tobacco & Nicotine Policy conference for CTP to acknowledge the dramatically reduced youth vaping rate – now even lower – and immediately start educating adult smokers about the fact that vaping is dramatically safer than smoking and encourage smokers to use or even try e-cigarettes if they can’t quit if they can’t quit another way,” said Abboud.
VTA also encourages regulators to work with it and finally adopt the series of marketing reforms and youth access restrictions that will further drive down youth vaping while ensuring that a wide variety of flavored vaping products remain available and accessible to adult smokers through adult-only stores.
FDA’s policies are leaving behind American smokers. Smokers are increasingly over-represented in marginalized black, low-income, low-education, and LGBTQ+ communities and continue to die at unacceptable rates. These communities deserve to hear the truth about how to lower their risk and improve their chances of quitting smoking. According to a recent report from the Center for Black Equity, the “broad approval of flavored vaping products will save Black and LGBTQ+ lives, reduce smoking, and drive meaningful progress in lowering preventable cancer rates.”
“Americans need real solutions and information, not bureaucratic posturing around big data,” concluded Abboud. “Every year the FDA remains wedded to its prohibition mentality and keeps the public in the dark about the benefits of flavored e-cigarettes, millions of Americans will continue to smoke, suffer, and die.”
The Vapor Technology Association is the U.S. industry trade association whose members are dedicated to sound science-based regulation and selling innovative high-quality vapor products that provide adult smokers with a better alternative to combustible cigarettes. VTA represents the industry-leading manufacturers of vapor devices, e-liquids, and flavorings, as well as the distributors and retailers, including hardworking American mom-and-pop brick-and-mortar retail store owners.