US Teen Smoking Drops But Vaping Increases: CDC
While cigarette smoking rates among U.S. High School students dipped to its lowest point in 24 years, the high rate of electronic vapor use among the same group has become a cause for concern, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported in a survey.
CDC released the findings from the 2015 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) in June. This is the first time that the prevalence of electronic vapor product use was incorporated in the YRBS. The reporting period covered September 2014 to December 2015.
According to the CDC, the prevalence of cigarette use among high school students hit the lowest level at 11% in 2015. In 1991, the year CDC initiated the first survey, the rate was at nearly 28%.During the last survey in 2013, prevalence of cigarette use among high school respondents registered at 15.7%, which is still a significant decrease from 1991 numbers.
All over the U.S, around 33% of students interviewed said they had tried smoking a cigarette during the survey period, a huge reduction from 1991 figures of 70.1%. Meanwhile, 2.3% of the students said they had smoked cigarettes on all the 30 days before the survey. The YRBS findings also revealed that nearly 46% of the students who currently smoke cigarettes had tried to quit 12 months prior to the survey.
The survey also noted that 7.3% of respondents had used smokeless tobacco such as chewing tobacco and snuff. Respondents who were 18 and above reported procuring cigarettes in a store or gas station (12.6%) and on the Internet (1.0%). This was the first time that buying cigarettes on the internet was added as a response option.
In terms of electronic vapor usage, survey findings reveal a prevalence rate of nearly 45%. According to the survey results, 24.1% of students had used electronic vapor products days prior to the survey. The range of products in the survey includes a vape pen and pipes, e-cigarettes, e-cigars, e-pipes, e-hookahs, and hookah pens.
The YRBS findings indicate that 31.4% of the respondents are current cigarette, cigar, smokeless tobacco, or electronic vapor product users, with product usage more high among male (34.9%) than female (27.7%) high school students.
Just this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a rule which extends their regulatory authority to e-cigarettes and other tobacco-related products. FDA’s new ruling enforces selling restrictions on the newly regulated products, and requires manufacturers to include health warnings on the labels.
Mitch Zeller, J.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products said, “Under this new rule, we’re taking steps to protect Americans from the dangers of tobacco products, ensure these tobacco products have health warnings, and restrict sales to minors.”
For more than two decades, the CDC monitored priority health behaviors among youth and young adults in the U.S through the YRBS. The categories highlighted in the survey include tobacco use behaviors, alcohol and other drug use behaviors, unhealthy dietary behaviors, sexual risk behaviors, among other priorities.
Following the announcement of the current YRBS findings, CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H stated in a press release, “Current cigarette smoking is at an all-time low, which is great news. However, it’s troubling to see that students are engaging in new risk behaviors, such as using e-cigarettes.”
Frieden added, “We must continue to invest in programs that help reduce all forms of tobacco use, including e-cigarettes, among youth.”