New Report: 2.8 Million Youth Report Current Use of Tobacco Products

ACS CAN calls on administration to immediately finalize the FDA’s proposed rules to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and all flavored cigars.

November 2, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C.November 2, 2023 – New data from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) found that more than 6.21 million youth reported ever using tobacco products and 2.8 million report current use (past 30 days) of any tobacco product in 2023. This represents an encouraging decrease in high school use rates, but a troubling increase in middle school use rates from 2022. The report shows that 89.4% of youth who are using e-cigarettes are using flavors, highlighting the reality that these products are successfully being targeted to youth by the tobacco industry. Further, the use of combustible tobacco products, including cigarettes and cigars, reported in the survey highlights some of the key disparities that exist with current combustible use being highest amongst students who are Black, Hispanic, or multi-racial, compared to their White and American Indian and Alaska Native peers. These findings demonstrate the importance of eliminating the sale of menthol cigarettes and all other flavored tobacco products. 

The following is a statement from Dr. Karen E. Knudsen, CEO of the American Cancer Society and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN):

“With tobacco use being the number one cause of cancer death, it is incredibly disheartening that we’re seeing so many young people using and becoming addicted to tobacco products. The vast majority of adults who use tobacco started before the age of 18, which is why we must prevent youth from ever starting to use these highly addictive products. The data released today proves that our work is far from over.

“According to the survey, an estimated 2.1 million middle and high schoolers are using e-cigarettes, an estimated 430,000 are using cigarettes and an estimated 420,000 are using cigars. These numbers draw a clear picture of just how serious a threat all tobacco products are to our young people. It’s important to note the most used tobacco products among youth surveyed, e-cigarettes, cigarettes and cigars, are all sold in flavors. The tobacco industry also has a long history of using flavors to target Black, Hispanic, and multi-racial communities. Eliminating cancer disparities depends heavily on eliminating tobacco use.

“The administration must see this data as a call to action to immediately finalize the FDA’s proposed rules to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and all flavored cigars and deny marketing orders for any new flavored tobacco product. Flavors are key tools the tobacco industry uses to target youth and young adults into a lifetime of addiction. ACS CAN is also calling on state governments to enact proven tobacco control policies including comprehensive statewide smoke-free laws, regular and significant tobacco tax increases and adequate funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs – young people’s lives depend on it.”