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Photo: Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images

E-cigarette use among middle and high schoolers dropped significantly since last year, with 1.8 million fewer teens vaping, a federal report released Wednesday shows.

Why it matters: The survey, conducted between mid-January and mid-March, highlights the effects of last year's outbreak of vaping-related illnesses and deaths.

  • In 2019, reports were confirmed of more than 2,600 hospital cases and nearly 60 deaths most likely associated with illicit THC-infused vaping products.

Yes, but: There is still a significant appeal for teens to smoke flavored tobacco products, which are now illegal to purchase in cartridge form.

  • Small vaping devices like those from Juul Labs are also still popular.
  • 26.5% of high schoolers used disposable e-cigarettes in 2020 (up from 2.4% in 2019) and 15.2% middle schoolers (up from 3% in 2019).

By the numbers: About 20% of high school students and 5% of middle school students said they recently used e-cigarettes and other vaping products — a large decrease from last year, when 28% of high school students and 11% of middle school students said they used those products.

Our thought bubble: Remember when vaping was our biggest public health problem?

Go deeper

Updated Nov 17, 2020 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on America's education inequities

On Tuesday, November 17, Axios' Sara Kehaulani Goo, Erica Pandey, and Courtenay Brown hosted a conversation on unequal opportunity and systemic racism in schools, featuring Northern California Indian Development Council Indigenous Education Advocate Rain Marshall, National Education Association President Becky Pringle and EdBuild CEO Rebecca Sibilia.

Becky Pringle discussed racial inequity in the education system, highlighting a lack of funding and accessible resources for students of color, as well as the need for congressional action around students' access to virtual education.

  • On the stark challenges of digital access: "60 million students did not have access to virtual learning in the spring...It is now November and those students still do not have that access. We are working with our educators and with communities, with our families or our partners to demand that the Senate act."

Rebecca Sibilia unpacked how school district lines can reinforce existing racial and economic divides, and discussed the possibility of making school districts larger to better distribute resources to students.

  • On growing wealth inequality and its impact on education: "[The] school district line becomes incredibly important in determining which students go to which schools and how well resourced they are. Because we fund schools primarily based on property taxes, the state tries to equalize for differences in the fundamental wealth of communities, but they just can't keep up."

Rain Marshall discussed the legacies of colonization on Indigenous students and the impact of those narrative being left out of school curricula.

  • On the classroom experience of Indigenous students: "You have a curriculum that doesn't reflect the population of Indigenous students...You have these leftover legacies in the school system and implicit bias where teachers just aren't aware that [this] erasure is harmful."

Axios' VP of Events Kristin Burkhalter hosted a View from the Top segment with President of Paul Quinn College Dr. Michael Sorrell and discussed the impact of poverty on students, and how to rethink the American education system.

  • On increasing accessibility to higher education: "People need are easier on and off ramps into higher education...The idea that what you study when you're 20, 21, 22 years old is going to be with you for the rest of your life and you won't need to make adjustments is just not realistic."

This event was the second in a yearlong series called Hard Truths, where we'll be discussing the wide ranging impact of systemic racism in America. Read our deep dive on race and education here and check out the series page here.

Thank you Capital One for sponsoring this event.

Nov 18, 2020 - World

Biden's Middle East team might look a lot like Obama's

Biden visits Jordan in 2016. Photo: Khalil Mazraawi/AFP via Getty

Biden and his team are in the early stages of staffing his administration, and I've been sounding out my sources on who is expected to handle Middle East policy at the National Security Council, the State Department and the Pentagon.

The state of play: Nothing is set in stone, but several people in Biden's foreign policy circle said they expect many of the senior staffers to be veterans of the Obama administration.

Broncos and 49ers the latest NFL teams impacted by coronavirus crisis

From left, Denver Broncos quarterbacks Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Jeff Driskel during an August training session at UCHealth Training Center in Englewood, Colorado. Photo: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the NFL season into chaos, with all Denver Broncos quarterbacks sidelined, the San Francisco 49ers left without a home or practice ground and much of the Baltimore Ravens team unavailable, per AP.

Driving the news: The Broncos confirmed in a statement Saturday night that quarterbacks Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles were identified as "high-risk COVID-19 close contacts" and will follow the NFL's mandatory five-day quarantine, making them ineligible for Sunday's game against New Orleans.