Tobacco use among US students dropped sharply in 2016

Teens' Use Of E-Cigarettes Drops For The First Time, CDC Says

A growing number of studies claim e-cigarettes can serve as a gateway for future tobacco use by our nation's youth.A report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on June 15, 2017 that e-cigarette use is down in middle and high schools for the first time in years. Use of other tobacco products has decreased as well. The CDC survey shows 11.3 percent of high school students used a vaping device in 2016.

In 2011, 1.5 percent of high school students said they'd recently vaped.

CDC and anti-smoking groups both said a combination of tobacco restrictions, advertising and taxes has helped reduce smoking rates.

In 2016, one in five high school students and one in 14 middle school students reported current use of a tobacco product on one or more days in the past 30 days.

The overall use of tobacco products by young people in the United States declined in 2016 by the largest amount in six years, led by a drop in e-cigarette use. This means that the overall usage of tobacco products has not actually declined from 2011 to 2016.

Current e-cigarette users were nearly 18 times more likely than people who never tried the devices to think the secondhand vapors caused no harm to children, and former e-cigarette users were more than seven times more likely to have this opinion, according to the results published in the CDC journal Preventing Chronic Disease.

The report also found that 20.2 percent of high school students and 7.2 percent of middle school students reported current use of any tobacco product.

Gary Giovino, an expert in the epidemiology of tobacco use and dependence, and a professor of community health and health behavior at the University of Buffalo, said the findings made him cautiously optimistic. He was not involved in the new report.




It's only a matter of time before this trend catches up with Big Tobacco, however, and this crowded trade unwinds. "It's probably gonna take the elevator down, but at least it's going in the right direction, and that's really important".

The CDC is pointing to strategies in tobacco prevention and control as a factor in this decrease.

For example, the FDA's "Real Cost" campaign, Gottlieb said in his statement, has helped prevent almost 350,000 kids from smoking since its launch in 2014, while the Truth Initiative has run "truth", a campaign featuring hard-hitting messages on the tobacco industry and its marketing tactics. "The FDA has invested heavily in compelling, science-based education campaigns, such as 'The Real Cost, ' that have already helped prevent almost 350,000 kids from smoking cigarettes, and continues to enforce important youth access restrictions".

Statements from researchers linking e-cigarettes to smoking will often misrepresent what the actual data shows.

"I was surprised to see that most of the countries were in the 10 to 20 percent range; I would have thought the numbers would be higher, but they either are similar or slightly higher than rates in the US which are around 10 to 15 percent", said Dr. Maher Karam-Hage, associate medical director of the tobacco treatment program at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.

"Compared with older adults, the brain of youth and young adults is more vulnerable to the negative consequences of nicotine exposure", he said. Nicotine addiction, mood disorders and permanent lowering of impulse control are just a few of the risks.

The bad news, is that 3.9 million young people are still smoking.

Myers said "it is too soon" to determine whether the e-cig use decline "is a long-term trend or a one-year blip". About 10 percent students were offered free cigarettes by a tobacco company representative and about 5 percent students usually smoke at home. "However, on balance the bad news is that we've still got 4 million teenagers using tobacco", he said.

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