Tobacco Product Use and Associated Factors Among Middle and High School Students

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Author(s): The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

  • Teresa W. Wang, PhD; Andrea S. Gentzke, PhD; MeLisa R. Creamer, PhD; Karen A. Cullen, PhD; Enver Holder-Hayes, MPH; Michael D. Sawdey, PhD; Gabriella M. Anic, PhD; David B. Portnoy, PhD; Sean Hu, DrPH; David M. Homa, PhD; Ahmed Jamal, MBBS; Linda J. Neff, PhD

Published: Dec. 6, 2019

Report Intro/Brief:”
“This report uses findings from the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) to describe the prevalence of youth tobacco product use and selected associated factors, including flavored tobacco product use, reasons for use, exposure to tobacco product marketing, curiosity and susceptibility, harm perceptions, urges to use tobacco products, and quitting behaviors. These findings can be used by public health professionals, health care providers, policymakers, educators, parents, and others who influence youths to prevent and reduce tobacco product use among U.S. youths…

…In 2019, the prevalence of cigarette smoking among youths was the lowest ever captured by the NYTS since 1999. An estimated 5.8% of high school students and 2.3% of middle school students reported current cigarette smoking in 2019, compared with 28.5% of high school students and 9.2% of middle school students in 1999 (14). However, youths are using various other tobacco products, most notably e-cigarettes.

Since 2014, e-cigarettes have remained the most commonly used tobacco product among U.S. youths. During 2017–2018, current e-cigarette use increased by 77.8% among high school students and 48.5% among middle school students. The 2017–2018 surge in e-cigarette use prompted the U.S. Surgeon General to issue an advisory declaring e-cigarette use among youths an epidemic in December 2018. This advisory underscored the importance of protecting youths from a lifetime of nicotine dependency and associated health risks. In 2019, approximately three in 11 high school students (27.5%) and one in 10 middle school students (10.5%) used e-cigarettes during the past 30 days, which is higher than estimates observed in the 2018 NYTS. However, direct attribution of this change to actual increases in product use is not possible because changes made to the 2019 survey could also lead to higher estimates of use…

Findings from NYTS indicate that in 2019, approximately half of high school students (53.3%) and one in four middle school students (24.3%) had ever used a tobacco product. Furthermore, approximately three in 10 high school students (31.2%) and approximately one in eight middle school students (12.5%) had used a tobacco product during the past 30 days. Multiple factors known to promote tobacco product use and initiation among youths, including flavored tobacco products, marketing, curiosity and susceptibility, and misperceptions of harm, remained prevalent. The comprehensive and sustained implementation of evidence-based tobacco control strategies, combined with FDA’s regulation of tobacco products, is important for preventing and reducing all forms of tobacco product use among U.S. youths. In addition, because tobacco products might continue to diversify, surveillance among youths for all forms of tobacco product use and associated factors is important to the development of public health policy and action at the national, state, and community levels.”

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