E-Cigarettes Lead to 36 Percent Spike in Overall Tobacco Use Among Youth

February 11, 2019

Washington, D.C. – Overall tobacco use among middle and high school students is on the rise driven largely by the overwhelming increase in youth e-cigarette use, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today. According to the report, 4.9 million middle and high school students say they are current tobacco product users, up from 3.6 million in 2017. In addition, progress on previously declining youth use of other tobacco products, like cigarettes and cigars, has stalled.

The data also shows use of multiple tobacco products, namely e-cigarettes and combustible cigarettes, is becoming more common among youth. A separate study released earlier this month found e-cigarette use is serving as a catalyst for combustible cigarette initiation among youth. The CDC reports e-cigarette use has increased 78 percent between 2017 and 2018.

A statement from Lisa Lacasse, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), follows:

“It is incredibly alarming that in just one year 1.3 million more middle and high school students became new tobacco product users. The data released today clearly illustrates the danger e-cigarettes play in addicting a new generation of young Americans to nicotine and the tobacco industry’s deadly products and threaten to wipe away years of progress in reducing tobacco use among our youth.

“This is a pressing public health epidemic and the need for well-funded prevention strategies and regulation is more apparent than ever. Recognition of the magnitude of this crisis from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Surgeon General last year were welcome steps forward, but more must be done. The FDA must exercise its full regulatory authority over all tobacco products, especially e-cigarettes, if we are going to curb this growing youth crisis and reverse this extremely troubling trend.”

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