New data shows fewer teens are vaping compared to last year, though officials warn e-cigarette usage among young people is still a prevalent problem.
According to new statistics shared by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 3.6 million young people reported that they vape — almost 2 million fewer than in 2019 when that total was 5.4 million.
The National Youth Tobacco Survey conducted the study in partnership with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and while the decreased numbers marked a reduction in the nicotine usage among young people, health officials said vaping is still an epidemic.
“Although the decline in e-cigarette use among our Nation’s youth is a notable public health achievement, our work is far from over,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield in a press release. “Youth e-cigarette use remains an epidemic, and CDC is committed to supporting efforts to protect youth from this preventable health risk.”
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories
“These findings reinforce the importance of continuing to focus on the strategies that work to reduce youth tobacco product use while keeping pace with emerging trends in tobacco products,” said Karen Hacker, director of CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
“Implementing these strategies at the national, state and local levels is integral to preventing and reducing youth tobacco product use, including e-cigarettes,” Hacker added.
In January, the FDA announced a ban on “flavored, cartridge-based” e-cigarette products that appeal to children. While the ban includes various fruit and mint flavors, tobacco and menthol are an exception.
“The United States has never seen an epidemic of substance use arise as quickly as our current epidemic of youth use of e-cigarettes,” Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement when the new policy was announced.
The CDC urges people to avoid the use of vaping products, especially those containing THC. Adults who are using e-cigarettes are encouraged to “carefully monitor themselves for symptoms” like cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, chills or weight loss.