Over six million middle and high school students reported recently using tobacco in 2019, according to new data from CDC's annual National Youth Tobacco Survey, marking the highest prevalence of youth tobacco use since 2000, Axios' "Vitals" reports, and vaping was a key driving factor..
CDC conducts NYTS annually. They survey is given to middle school students—those in grades six through eight—and high school students—those in grades nine through 12. CDC in the survey explained, "A three-stage cluster sampling procedure is used to generate a nationally representative sample of U.S. students attending public and private schools."
According to the report, 31.2% of high school students, or 4.7 million, and 12.5% of middle school students, or 1.5 million, reported using tobacco in the past 30 days in the 2019 survey.
Overall, in the 2019 survey, 53.3% of high school students, or eight million, and 24.3% of middle school students, or 2.9 million, reported having ever tried a tobacco product.
E-cigarettes were the most popular tobacco product among both middle and high school students for the sixth year in a row, the survey found. According to the survey, 27.5% of high school students and 10.5% of middle school students had used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days in 2019. Meanwhile, cigars were the second-most popular, with 5.3% of students reporting using them in the past 30 days.
The survey also asked students who said they had ever used e-cigarettes why they used them:
In addition, the survey also found that roughly 90% of students were routinely exposed to tobacco advertising or promotions.
Brian King, deputy director of the Office on Smoking and Health at CDC, said the report was "deeply troubling and indicate[s] that past progress in reducing youth use of these products has been erased." He added that the rise has been "driven by e-cigarettes, which have no redeeming aspects among youth."
Robert Redfield, CDC director, in a statement said, "Youth use of any tobacco product, including e-cigarettes, is unsafe. It is incumbent upon public health and health care professionals to educate Americans about the risks resulting from this epidemic among our youth."
The report authors wrote that "comprehensive and sustained implementation of evidence-based tobacco control strategies, combined with FDA's regulation of tobacco products, is important for reducing all forms of tobacco product use among U.S. youths" (Owens, "Vitals," Axios, 12/6; Hoffman/Kaplan, New York Times, 12/5; Weixel, The Hill, 12/5; CDC report, 12/6).