The youth e-cigarette epidemic: updates and review of devices, epidemiology and regulation

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Current problems in pediatric and adolescent health care




Adolescent e-cigarette use constitutes a major public health challenge that has reversed the steady progress made in the past three decades to reduce youth tobacco use in the United States (U.S.). Although the prevalence of e-cigarette use has declined in the past two years, 24% of 12th grade students and 8.9% of 8th grade students in 2021 used e-cigarettes or engaged in vaping of any kind in the prior 30 days. The current e-cigarette landscape is dominated by discrete and stylish pod-based e-cigarettes with varying capacity for customized nicotine delivery, vapor concealment, and child-appealing e-liquid flavors. E-cigarettes continue to evolve rapidly with innovative technology as manufacturers seek loopholes in regulatory efforts and to maximize existing marketing opportunities. Regulatory efforts so far have focused largely on marketing restrictions with enforcement decisions prioritizing smoking cessation potential of e-cigarettes for adult smokers over risk of nicotine addiction in adolescents. Disposable e-cigarette products advertising synthetic nicotine and menthol-containing products remain on the market and continue to gain popularity among adolescents. This article describes e-cigarette devices, provides an overview on epidemiology of U.S. adolescent e-cigarette use, and reviews the existing federal, state, and local e-cigarette regulations with future recommendations for stakeholders.