How many teens use tobacco, nicotine, and vaping (e-cigarette) products?

Teens’ use of regular cigarettes continues to decline, especially among students in 12th grade, who had a significant decline in past-month use, now at 5.7 percent, down from 7.6 percent in 2018 and 13.6 percent in 2014. However, rates of vaping (both marijuana and nicotine) are on the rise. Nearly 2 in 5 students in 12th grade report past-year vaping. This raises concerns about the impact on brain health and the potential for addiction.

Smoking and smokeless tobacco use generally start during the teen years. Among people who use tobacco:

  • Every day, nearly 3,200 people younger than 18 years of age smoke their first cigarette.14
  • Every day, an estimated 2,100 youth and young adults who have been occasional smokers become daily cigarette smokers.15
  • If smoking continues at the current rate among youth in this country, 5.6 million of today’s Americans under the age of 18—or about 1 in every 13 young people—could die prematurely (too early) from a smoking-related illness.16
  • Vaping is the most commonly used form of tobacco use among youth in the United States.17
  • Young people who use vaping products or smokeless tobacco may be more likely to also become smokers.18,19
  • Using smokeless tobacco remains mostly male behavior. About 490,000 teens ages 12 to 17 are current smokeless tobacco users. For every 100 teens who use smokeless tobacco, 85 of them are boys.20

See New Data on Vaping and Teen Drug Use (EVERFI's Interview with NIDA's Dr. Emily Einstein and Brian Marquis, February 2020)

Monitoring the Future 2019: Tobacco and Nicotine: Vaping Threatens Progress
Monitoring the Future 2019: Teen Vaping Climbs Significantly: Daily vs Past Month
Monitoring the Future 2019: Teen Vaping Climbs Significantly: THC Daily vs Past Month
Monitoring the Future 2019: Teen Vaping Climbs Significantly: Teens Report Reasons for Vaping

The chart below shows the percentage of teens who use tobacco and nicotine products. Brackets indicate a significant change from the previous year, with cigarette smoking generally down and vaping increasing significantly.

Swipe left or right to scroll.

Monitoring the Future Study: Trends in Prevalence of Various Drugs for 8th Graders, 10th Graders, and 12th Graders; 2019 (in percent)*
Drug Time Period 8th Graders 10th Graders 12th Graders
Cigarettes (any use) Lifetime 10.00 14.20 22.30
Past Month 2.30 3.40 [5.70]
Daily 0.80 1.30 [2.40]
1/2-pack+/day 0.20 0.50 [0.90]
Smokeless Tobacco Lifetime 7.10 9.20 9.80
Past Month 2.50 3.20 3.50
Daily 0.50 0.90 1.10
Any Vaping Lifetime 24.30 [41.00] 45.60
Past Year 20.10 35.70 40.60
Past Month 12.20 [25.00] [30.90]
JUUL Lifetime 18.90 32.80 0.00
Past Year 14.70 28.70 0.00
Past Month 8.50 18.50 16.30

* Data in brackets indicate statistically significant change from the previous year.

For more statistics on teen drug abuse, see NIDA’s Monitoring the Future study.

14 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking and Tobacco Use: Fast Facts. Atlanta, GA. February 2019. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fast_facts/index.htm.

15 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking and Tobacco Use: Fast Facts. Atlanta, GA. February 2019. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fast_facts/index.htm.

16 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking and Tobacco Use: Fast Facts. Atlanta, GA. February 2019. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fast_facts/index.htm.

17 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS). February 2019. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/surveys/nyts/index.htm.

18 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking and Tobacco Use: Smokeless Tobacco Use in the United States. Atlanta, GA. August 2018. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/smokeless/use_us/.

19 Leventhal AM, Stone MD, Andrabi N. Association of e-Cigarette Vaping and Progression to Heavier Patterns of Cigarette Smoking. JAMA. 2016; 316(18):1918-1920.

20 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking and Tobacco Use: Smokeless Tobacco Use in the United States. Atlanta, GA. August 2018. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/smokeless/use_us/.