E-cigarettes reverse decades of decline in percentage of US youth struggling to quit nicotine

March 22, 2022

Contact: Morgan Sherburne, 734-647-1844, morganls@umich.edu

ANN ARBOR—The number of adolescents who have attempted to quit e-cigarettes and failed has grown with the rapid increase of teen e-cigarette use in the past five years, according to a study by University of Michigan researchers.

The findings suggest, however, that e-cigarette use has reversed a two decade-long decline among youth who made attempts to quit nicotine and failed.

In 2020, 6% of teens reported a failed quit attempt for either cigarettes or e-cigarettes. This compares with a failed quit attempt level for cigarettes of 4% in 2009, when cigarettes were the primary nicotine product for adolescents and e-cigarette prevalence was still near zero.

The 2020 level of 6% (for both cigarettes and e-cigarettes combined) compares with the percentage of youth with failed attempts to quit regular cigarettes that was at 10% in 1997 and that gradually declined over the next two decades to 2% by 2020.

“These results indicate that failed nicotine quit attempt levels have gone back to where they were about 17 years ago for adolescents,” said Richard Miech, research professor at the U-M Institute for Social Research and lead author of the study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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