“..these declines resulted in an estimated 1.73 million fewer current youth tobacco product users in 2020 than in 2019 (6.20 million).”
One in six U.S. teens used tobacco, reported the CDC, sadly failing to discriminate between tobacco and safer alternatives that do not even contain tobacco, such as vapes. “Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) were the most commonly used tobacco product among high school (19.6%; 3.02 million) and middle school (4.7%; 550,000) students,” read the CDC report.
“From 2019 to 2020, decreases in current use of any tobacco product, any combustible tobacco product, multiple tobacco products, e-cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco occurred among high school and middle school students; these declines resulted in an estimated 1.73 million fewer current youth tobacco product users in 2020 than in 2019 (6.20 million),” continued the report.
This means that nearly 4.5 million teens nationally used traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes or chewing tobacco this year, said the CDC. “These findings demonstrate success in reducing youth use of tobacco overall, while also revealing changes in use patterns that will inform policymakers,” said FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen M. Hahn, in a statement.”We remain very concerned about the overall tobacco use rates for young people, including the nearly 3.6 million youth who currently use e-cigarettes.”
The increase in vaping has led to a decrease in smoking
Meanwhile, a study from the University of Michigan found that across all sub-groups, the increase in vaping has corresponded to a decrease in smoking. Led by Rafael Meza, an associate professor of epidemiology and global health at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, the research team analyzed nationwide data on tobacco product use among 8th, 10th and 12th-graders between 1991 and 2019.
The compiled data indicated that daily smoking rates among 12th-grade boys rose by 4.9% a year between 1991 and 1998, but fell by 8% a year between 1998 and 2006, and by 1.6% from 2006 to 2012. Moreover, there was a 17% annual decline between 2012 and 2019, with overall, daily smoking among 12th-graders dropping to about 2% by 2019. This positive pattern was consistent amongst boys and girls in all grades and for both Black and White teens.
“This is an astoundingly low rate, and our goal from a public health perspective should be to keep smoking at this rate or lower,” said study co-author David Levy, a professor of oncology at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.