Washington, D.C. – Dec. 17, 2020 – A new survey released today from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finds overall tobacco use among middle and high school students has declined from 2019-2020. However, cigarette use did not decline and nearly 4.5 million young people are still using deadly tobacco products. The following is a statement from Lisa Lacasse, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).
“While we still don’t know the impact the pandemic is having on data collection, we’re pleased to see a decrease in overall tobacco use among U.S. middle and high school students. However, the fact that cigarette use did not decrease and 370,000 kids nationwide are using heated tobacco products should be a wake-up call. No child should be using any form of tobacco. We must double down our efforts in 2021 to prevent another generation from a lifetime of addiction to these deadly products, known to cause 13 different types of cancer and responsible for more than 480,000 deaths each year.
“ACS CAN urges the FDA to consider these statistics as it reviews premarket applications for tobacco products in order to protect the public health, especially our youth. FDA also has the authority to dramatically reduce youth tobacco use by reducing nicotine in combustible tobacco products to non-addictive levels. In fact, the FDA estimates that reducing nicotine in cigarettes to non-addictive levels would prevent more than 33 million youth and young adults from becoming regular smokers this century, prompt 5 million smokers to quit within one year (rising to 13 million in five years) and save more than 8 million lives by the end of the century
“In addition to advocating for robust regulation of tobacco products by the FDA, ACS CAN will also continue to work with local, state and federal lawmakers in 2021 to pass polices proven to reduce tobacco use and save lives.”