The University of Michigan Monitoring the Future report came out in December and there is some good news regarding declines in tobacco products among teens. Cigarette smoking, smokeless tobacco, snus, and hookah have all seen declines in use. Unfortunately, something else has replaced those forms of tobacco: vaping.
First the good news. Cigarette smoking reports are listed as lifetime, 30-day, daily and half-pack/day, and all are at “historic lows” since they were first measured in 1991. Peak usage came in the mid-1990s and the declines are amazing:
– lifetime use: down 71%
– 30-day use: down 81%
– daily use: down 86%
– current half-pack/day: down 91%
Usage peaked in 1996 for 8th and 10th graders at 10.4% and 18.3% respectively, and in 1997 for 12th graders at 24.6% Today’s numbers are at 0.6% (8th), 2.2% (10th) and 4.2% (12th). The declines show that teens are listening to the warnings about the dangers of cigarettes and smoking, and disapprove of smoking at a higher rate than previous generations.
Smokeless tobacco also reached a low point with numbers at 9.7% in 1992 to 3.5% in 2017. This year alone the numbers dropped 0.7%. Snus, a spit-less, smokeless tobacco product also saw a drop from 3.6% to 2.6%.
For the past several years hookah use increased, but since 2014 it has fallen 45% in the last five years from 23% to 10% this year. This year alone it decreased 2.9 percentage points, from 13.0% to 10.1%.
Flavored little cigars and regular little cigar use is down since first measurements were tracked in 2014 , but this year did not decline. Thirty-day use is at 5.4% for flavored and 3.7% for regular., proving that more teens like the flavored tobacco products over non-flavored.
Now for the bad news. Decreases in conventional nicotine use is being replaced with liquid nicotine use in the form of vaping. In the last year 8% of 8th graders, 16% of 10th graders and 19% of 12th graders reported vaping nicotine, although those numbers could be higher because students may not be aware of nicotine in their product. It will be interesting to see future numbers as it has been reported that students turn from vaping to conventional tobacco. We may see an increase in smoking or other tobacco use again in the coming years.
It is good to know students are getting the message that tobacco is dangerous to their health, but information from YouTube and peers’ “knowledge” on the vaping rather than facts seems to be the way they are getting their information. Now, more than ever, we need to teach our students about tobacco prevention before we lose this generation back to the tobacco industry. Educators in Florida can take the Florida Tobacco Prevention Training for Educators online course and receive professional development points for teaching their students six (6) tobacco lessons. You can find out more on the course HERE.
Click HERE for the Monitoring the Future Press Release.