One in four American high schoolers and one in 10 children in middle school have used an e-cigarette in the past 30 days, with most favoring those flavored with mint or menthol.
The disturbing findings from two separate studies were published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
One, the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey by the Food and Drug Administration, found there are now 5.3 million young Americans who vape regularly, compared with about 3.6 million last year.
The study found efforts by state and federal officials to discourage underage vaping are falling short, despite a prohibition on sale of e-cigarettes to anyone younger than 18 and a ban on all flavored vaping products, excluding mint and menthol.
The study also found that Juul was the preferred brand of nearly 60% of high school students.
Another study, led by researchers from the University of Southern California, found most young teens preferred the flavor of mint over menthol.
The studies come as the federal government of considering a ban on all e-cigarettes flavored with anything other than tobacco.
The findings "call for drastic action to be taken. We are in the midst of an e-cigarette crisis, the aftermath of which we could be dealing with for decades,'' Erika Sward, spokeswoman for the American Lung Association, said.
Juul, the best-selling vaping brand in the country, voluntarily stopped the sale of all its fruit and dessert flavored vaping products last month. But that move did not include mint and menthol flavors. It has also promised not to lobby against any federal efforts to ban all flavors.