CDC: 2.5 million middle and high school students used tobacco products last year

About 2.55 million American middle and high school students reported using tobacco products in the past 30 days, according to the government’s National Youth Smoking Survey.

Over 5 million high school students and over 1 million college students reported using tobacco products at any time in 2021, and the majority said they received the product from a friend.

These monthly figures are significantly down from the 4.47 million tobacco users reported in 2020, although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration have said that this year’s figures are not expected. not be compared to previous years as the survey was conducted online. due to the COVID-19 pandemic, rather than on school campuses.

The CDC said the survey shows youth smoking “remains a serious public health concern.”

“Youth use of tobacco products is dangerous in any form – combustible, smokeless or electronic,” said Karen Hacker, director of the CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. , in a press release.

Electronic cigarettes have been the most used tobacco product among young people since 2014 and were by far the The most common tobacco product used among middle and high school students in 2021.

Students who reported smoking traditional cigarettes were reported at historically low levels, with only 1.9% of high school students and 1% of college students reporting such use.

The survey shows the ongoing challenge facing public health agencies as non-traditional cigarettes continue to be popular among teens.

Among college students who had previously used e-cigarettes, peer use and curiosity were the most cited reasons for trying them for the first time in 2021. However, among college students who currently used e-cigarettes, the reasons the most cited were feelings of anxiety, stress, or depression and the “high or buzz” associated with nicotine use.

The survey found that tobacco use was higher among people who identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual, at 14%, compared to those who identified as heterosexual, at 8%.

Tobacco use was also higher among students who identified as transgender, at 19%, compared to cisgender students, at 8%.

About two-thirds of students who currently use tobacco products said they were seriously considering quitting. However, factors that may continue to promote tobacco product use among young Americans, such as flavor availability, access to tobacco products, exposure to tobacco product marketing, and misperceptions about harms from the use of tobacco products, remained prevalent in 2021, according to the survey.

“It’s telling that about two-thirds of current youth users have expressed a desire to quit tobacco products, and three-quarters of youth say they’ve seen or heard tobacco prevention advertising,” said Mitch. Zeller, director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products. , said in a statement. “But the 2021 usage data is still concerning and will be invaluable to policymakers and educators committed to protecting the next generation from tobacco-related illness and death.”

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