Number of Teens Vaping, Smoking Decreasing — CDC

Posted June 17, 2017

Youth tobacco use in the USA fell to historic lows in 2016, leading public health experts to speculate that a smoke-free generation may be within reach.

A government survey released Thursday suggests the number of high school and middle school students using electronic cigarettes fell to 2.2 million last year, from 3 million the year before.

Roughly 11 percent of youth aged 13 to 15 around the world use tobacco products like cigarettes and cigars, a global survey of students suggests.

"We would expect that to continue", he said.

Alexander Prokhorov, MD, PhD, who directs the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Tobacco Outreach Education Program, said while the 2016 NYTS data show welcome declines in youth e-cigarette and hookah use, as well as conventional cigarette smoking, use of these emerging tobacco products among teens should be closely monitored. Among black high school students, cigars were the most commonly used product.

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Among all middle school students, the most commonly used products after e-cigarettes were: cigarettes (2.2 percent), cigars (2.2 percent), smokeless tobacco (2.2 percent), hookah (2 percent), pipe tobacco (0.7 percent) and bidis (0.3 percent).

Statements from researchers linking e-cigarettes to smoking will often misrepresent what the actual data shows. There are in addition smoke-free zones and policies, restriction of access to tobacco by the youth and other similar measures that serve as deterrents to smoking.

After the increase in the use of e-cigarettes by young people until 2015, public health authorities were alarmed by the numbers, said King.

Another pillar of our efforts is to make sure retailers understand and take seriously their responsibility of keeping harmful and addictive tobacco products out of the hands of children. The good news obviously is the decline that can be seen from this analysis and the bad news is the existing number of American youngsters who are still using tobacco products that is estimated to be around 3.9 million.

Big U.S. tobacco companies are all developing e-cigarettes, battery-powered gadgets with a heating element that turns liquid nicotine and flavorings into a cloud of vapor that users inhale.

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"Far too many young people are still using tobacco products, so we must continue to prioritize proven strategies to protect our youth from this preventable health risk", said CDC Acting Director Anne Schuchat, M.D.

E-cigarettes were the most commonly used tobacco product, King said.

Almost 2 million middle and high school students said they had used two or more tobacco products in the past 30 days.

Adolescent cigarette smoking has been falling for many years, but the decline in e-cigarette and hookah use was more remarkable.

A large government survey released Thursday, June 15, 2017, suggests the number of USA high school and middle school students using electronic cigarettes fell to 2.2 million last year, from 3 million the year before. E-cigarettes once thought safer are no longer considered any better. The proportion of student smokers who said they desired to quit ranged from a low of 32 percent in Uruguay to a high of 90 percent in the Philippines.

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The CDC did not specify which products were most frequently used together but Brian King, the CDC Office on Smoking and Health's deputy director for research translation, said previous studies have shown that the most common dual use pairing is between cigarettes and e-cigarettes.