*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on CNN.
The number of high school and middle school students who use e-cigarettes has decreased for the first time according to a recent report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. E-cigarette use among this group has only been tracked since 2011. Previous reports showed increases in usage. Use of other tobacco products has decreased as well.
The new report analyzes the results of National Youth Tobacco Surveys from 2011 to 2016. These annual surveys were given to American middle and high school students who voluntarily filled out the pencil and paper questionnaire based on their behavior in the 30 previous days.
And the results show that from 2015 to 2016, the rate of high-schoolers using e-cigarettes, along with hookahs and combustible tobacco products, dropped.
For middle-schoolers, rates of e-cigarette use dropped as well.
“This report has some good news, and it has some bad news, when it comes to youth tobacco product use in the United States,” said Brian King, deputy director for research translation in the CDC’s Office of Smoking and Healthand one of the report’s authors. “The good news is that we’ve seen a marked decline in the use of tobacco products among our nation’s youth. However, the bad news is that we still have about 3.9 million US youth who are using tobacco products.”
Although the results show a downward trend from 2015 to 2016, there wasn’t an overall decrease in tobacco product use from 2011 to 2016. That’s because more kids and teens started to use e-cigarettes and hookah over the past five years, the report said. And that still leaves 20% of surveyed high school students and 7% of surveyed middle school students using tobacco in 2016.
The CDC is attributing the decreased numbers in the new report in part to strategies that aim to prevent and control tobacco use. These include the Food and Drug Administration’s well-known education campaign The Real Cost, which includes television commercials showing the toll that smoking can take on people. Other policies have included restricting youth access to tobacco in stores and implementing smoke-free policies.