E-cigarette use among teens increasing; overall tobacco use remains steady: report


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Atlanta – The overall prevalence of tobacco use among teens has remained steady for the fifth straight year, with electronic cigarettes being the most commonly used product among youth, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2015, about 1 out of every 4 high school students reported currently using at least one tobacco product a month, a figure that has remained relatively unchanged since 2011. Among middle school students, about 7 percent were current tobacco users in 2015.

The study is based on data from the 2011-2015 National Youth Tobacco Surveys. Current tobacco use was defined by the study as “any tobacco product use” within the past 30 days; the study considered cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, e-cigarettes, hookahs, pipe tobacco and bidis as tobacco products.

The popularity of e-cigarettes in the past five years has soared, according to the study data. In 2011, less than 10 percent of high school and middle school tobacco product consumers used e-cigarettes. But by last year, a majority of tobacco users in both groups smoked e-cigarettes.

Other highlights from the study:

  • In 2015, tobacco use occurred among 4.7 million middle and high school students.
  • Cigarette use among youths has declined from 2011 to 2015, but cigarettes remain the second-most-used tobacco product among both middle and high school students.
  • About half of teens who use tobacco use at least two types of products.

“We’re very concerned that one in four high school students use tobacco, and that almost half of those use more than one product,” Corinne Graffunder, director of CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, said in a press release. “We know about 90 percent of all adult smokers first try cigarettes as teens. Fully implementing proven tobacco control strategies could prevent another generation of Americans from suffering from tobacco-related diseases and premature deaths.”

Tobacco use at any age is unsafe. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration currently regulates cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, loose tobacco and smokeless tobacco, but is pursuing a rule to gain jurisdiction over products derived from tobacco, including e-cigarettes and hookah tobacco.

The report was published April 15 in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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