E-cigarette Use Among Kansas Teens Has Plummeted

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released the results of the 2021 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) for Kansas high school students. The biennial survey looked at a variety of behaviors among students, from diet and physical activity to mental health and substance use. This is good news for Sunflower State policymakers, as teen e-cigarette(heat not burn heatsticks supplier) use has plummeted since peaking in 2019, while youth use of traditional tobacco products such as cigars, cigarettes and smokeless tobacco is at an all-time low.


According to the 2021 YRBS, nearly half (48.6 percent) of high school students in Kansas say they have tried e-cigarettes(herbal sticks manufacturer) and more than one in five (22 percent) say they are currently using e-cigarettes, the peak for vaping in the state. Current use is defined as having used the product at least once in the 30 days prior to the survey. Between 2019 and 2021, the number of high school students who ever used e-cigarettes decreased by 29 percent to 34.2 percent, and the number of Kansas high school students who currently use e-cigarettes decreased by 34.5 percent to just 14.4 percent.

Despite some alarmist concerns that teen vaping will lead to an increase in teen use of traditional tobacco products, teen use of cigarettes, cigars and smokeless tobacco(heated tobacco heatsticks) products in Kansas is at the lowest level on record.


In 2021, less than one in five (17.2%) reported having tried a combustible cigarette. That's down 30.6 percent from 2019, but down 66.3 percent from 2005, when more than half (51 percent) of students reported trying combustible cigarettes. Even better, only 4.6 percent of Kansas high school students reported current smoking, down 20.7 percent from 2019 levels and 78.1 percent from 2005, when more than one in five (21 percent) high school students reported current smoking.

The use of other tobacco products is also at an all-time low. In 2021, only 3.2 percent of Kansas high school students reported current cigar use and 3.6 percent currently use smokeless tobacco products. Between 2019 and 2021, current cigar use is down 41.8 percent and smokeless tobacco use is down 34.5 percent.


In recent years, many policymakers have tried to address youth tobacco and e-cigarette use by legislating to restrict the sale of flavored products. While commendable, young people do not overwhelmingly cite taste as a reason for using e-cigarettes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Tobacco Survey, in 2021, only 13.2% of U.S. middle and high school students who currently use e-cigarettes said they use them because they have different flavors. Instead, nearly half (43.4 percent) said they used e-cigarettes because they were anxious, depressed, and/or stressed.


Policymakers in the Sunflower State should take note, as adolescent mental health issues are on the rise. In 2021, more than two in five (37.7 percent) Kansas high school students reported feeling sad and/or hopeless on a persistent basis, a 16 percent increase over 2019 and the highest level on record. Alarmingly, 16.1 percent of high school students reported having made a suicide attempt in the year prior to the survey, a staggering 78.9 percent increase over the 9 percent of students who reported suicide attempts in 2019.

Policymakers and public health officials should welcome the decline in the use of tobacco and vaping products among Kansas high school students, even in the face of a statewide ban on flavored tobacco products. If policymakers really want to address the problems facing the Sunflower State's youth, they should turn their attention to the growing mental health crisis among the state's youth.