Every year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention puts out an annual report on tobacco use among youth. This report uses information and patterns from the 2011-2016 National Youth Tobacco Surveys (NYTS) to determine the “current (past 30-day) use of seven tobacco product types among U.S. middle (grades 6-8) and high (9-12) school students.” The current report shows good news with e-cigarette use declining since the first reporting of it in 2011. Cigarette use also continues to decrease.
According to the report of those surveyed, 7.2% (1 in 14) of middle school and 20.2% (1 in 5) of high school students reported current tobacco product use in 2016. Electronic cigarettes were the most commonly used tobacco product with 11.3% of high school and 4.3% of middle school students using them in 2016.
A further breakdown of the numbers for high school students shows that of the 20.2% (estimated to be 3.05 million) reporting current use of any product, 9.6% (1.44 million) reported using 2 or more products. The breakdown of products and usage include: e-cigarettes (11.3%), cigarettes (8.0%), cigars (7.7%), smokeless tobacco (5.8%), hookahs (4.8%), pipe tobacco (1.4%), and bidis (0.5%). Males (23.5%) were more likely than females (17.0%) to use any tobacco product.
Of middle school students, 7.2% (0.85 million) reported current use of any tobacco products with 3.1% (0.36 million) reporting current use of 2 or more products. Popularity of tobacco products among middle school students follows that of high school with e-cigarettes most commonly used (4.3%), followed by cigarettes (2.2%), cigars (2.2%), smokeless tobacco (2.2%), hookahs (2.0%), pipe tobacco (0.7%), and bidis (0.3%). Middle school males (8.3%) were more likely than females (5.9%) to use any tobacco product.
The most significant changes were observed in 2015-2016 among high school students as current use of any tobacco product, any combustible tobacco product, 2 or more tobacco products, and hookahs all declined. E-cigarette use saw a decrease of 16.0% to 11.3% for 2015-2016. Middle school students also saw a decline in e-cigarette use from 5.3% in 2015 to 4.3% in 2016.
Nearly 90% of all tobacco use starts before teens turn 18, the legal age to purchase tobacco in much of the U.S., and nearly 4 million middle and high school students are using tobacco products according to the report. While increases and decreases of current tobacco use may be difficult to remember, one fact remains: tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable diseases and death in the United States.
Here in Florida, we hope to further the decline among students by offering the Florida Tobacco Prevention Training for Educators online course to all Florida teachers, administrators, and school counselors at no cost to participants or their districts through the Florida Department of Education Office of Healthy Schools. At the completion of the course, participants teach six (6) tobacco prevention lessons and are awarded either 30- or 60 points depending on the course. Last year our participants taught lessons to over 16,000 students. Let’s work together to reach as many Florida students as possible and make tobacco addiction a thing of the past.
Click HERE for the complete report: Tobacco Use Among Middle and High School Students – United States, 2011-2016