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Fewer high school, middle school students using tobacco: study

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Washington — Tobacco use is down among both high school and middle school students, according to a joint study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration.

Researchers examined National Youth Tobacco Survey data from 2011 to 2017. They looked at the use of seven tobacco products in the previous 30 days by respondents in sixth to eighth grades and ninth to 12th grades.

Since 2014, e-cigarettes have been the most common tobacco product used by high school and middle school students.

The researchers found that tobacco use among high school students decreased to about 19.6 percent in 2017 from 24.2 percent in 2011 – which they point out is still nearly 1 in 5 students (2.95 million). Among middle school students, use decreased to 5.6 percent from 7.5 percent. Additionally, nearly half of high schoolers and just more than 40 percent of middle schoolers in 2017 reported consuming two or more products in the previous 30 days.

“Among youths, symptoms of nicotine dependence are increased in multiple tobacco product-users compared with those in single product-users,” the study states.

The researchers point to tobacco product advertising and imagery, as well as flavored tobacco products, as continued influences on tobacco product use among youth. They call for “sustained and targeted interventions to address these factors.”

The study was published June 8 in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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