Monitoring the Future 2020 Survey Results

On December 15, the National Institute on Drug Abuse announced new data from the annual Monitoring the Future study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan. On December 16, a data processing error was found. This error misrepresented the scope of the decreases in daily or near-daily vaping of nicotine, marijuana, and just flavoring. NIDA’s materials were updated on December 17 to reflect the correct data.

Monitoring the Future is an annual drug use survey of eighth, 10th and 12th grade students conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

More than 11,800 students from 112 schools across the United States participated in the 2020 survey.*

*Data collection stopped prematurely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Completed surveys represent about 25% of the size of a typical year’s data collection. However, results were gathered from a broad geographic range and were statistically weighted to be nationally representative.

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Section: Surge of Nicotine Vaping Levels Off, but Remains High

Figure 1: Past-Year Nicotine Vaping Held Steady In 2020, the percentage of teens who reported vaping in the past year was unchanged from 2019. However, between 2017 and 2019 the number of students who reported vaping nicotine in the past year doubled.
  2017 2018 2019 2020
8th graders  7.5% 10.9% 16.5% 16.6%
10th graders  15.8% 24.7% 30.7% 30.7%
12th graders  18.8%   29.7%  35.3%  34.5%
Figure 2: Daily or Near-Daily Nicotine Vaping Declines Among Older Grades In 2020, the percentage of 10th and 12th grade students who reported vaping nicotine every day or nearly every day decreased from 2019.
  2019 2020
8th graders  2% 2%
10th graders  6.8% 5.6%
12th graders  11.6% 8.3% 
Figure 3: Past-Year JUUL Use Dropped Significantly Among Older Grades Between 2019 and 2020, the percentage of 10th and 12th grader students who used JUULs in the past 12 months declined significantly.
  2019 2020
8th graders  14.7% 11.7%
10th graders  28.7% 20%
12th graders  28.4% 22.7% 

Section: Past-Year Marijuana Vaping Holds Steady, Daily Use Decreases

Figure 4: Past-Year Marijuana Vaping The percentage of teens who vaped marijuana in the past 12 months remained stable between 2019 and 2020.
  2019 2020
8th graders  7.0% 8.1%
10th graders  19.4% 19.1%
12th graders  20.8% 22.1%
Figure 5: Daily or Near-Daily Marijuana Vaping Decreased Significantly Among 10th Graders The percentage of respondents who vaped marijuana daily or almost daily decreased significantly among 10th graders.
  2019 2020
8th graders  0.8% 0.7%
10th graders  3.0% 1.7%
12th graders  3.5%  2.5%

Section: Marijuana Use Remains Steady

Since 2018, both past-year and daily marijuana use remained nearly the same across all age groups. 

Figure 6: Past-Year Marijuana Use
  2018 2019 2020
8th graders  10.5% 11.8% 11.4%
10th graders  27.5% 28.8% 28%
12th graders  35.9%  35.7%  35.2%
Figure 7: Daily Marijuana Use
  2018 2019 2020
8th graders  0.7% 1.3% 1.1%
10th graders  3.4% 4.8% 4.4%
12th graders  5.8% 6.4% 6.9%

Section: Gradual Decline in Alcohol Use Slows

Over the past 10 years alcohol use gradually declined across all grades. However, the long-term trend leveled off in 2020.

Figure 8: Binge Drinking (5 or more drinks in a row in the past two weeks)
  2010 2015 2020
8th graders  7.2% 4.6%  4.5%
10th graders  16.3% 10.9% 9.6%
12th graders  23.2% 17.2% 16.8%
Figure 9: Past-Year Alcohol Use
  2010 2015 2020
8th graders  29.3% 21.0%  20.5%
10th graders  52.1% 41.9%  40.7%
12th graders  65.2%  58.2% 55.3%

Section: Amphetamine, Inhalant & Cough Medicine Misuse Trending Upward Among Eighth Graders

The percentage of eighth graders who misused amphetamines, inhalants, and cough medicine over the past 12 months continues to gradually increase.

Figure 10: Past-Year Substance Misuse Among Eighth Graders
  2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Inhalants    3.8% 4.7% 4.6% 4.7% 6.1%
Amphetamines   3.5% 3.5% 3.7% 4.1% 5.3%
Cough Medicine 1.6% 2.6% 2.1% 2.8% 3.2% 4.6%