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Smoking Is For Losers: Teen Tobacco Use Hits Record Low

Update Date: Jun 19, 2017 02:48 PM EDT
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Sorry, Kenickie. Smoking isn't cool anymore.

According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 11.3 percent of high school students used e-cigarettes in 2016 -- a new low for youth smoking.

"We do know that e-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among youth and that's been the case since about 2014," Brian King of CDC's Office on Smoking and Health told NBC News.

But it doesn't end with e-cigarettes. Eight percent of high-schoolers smoked regular cigarettes last year, while a little more than 20 percent reported using "any tobacco product," which includes pipes, hookahs, cigars, smokeless tobacco, and small, leaf-wrapped cigarettes called bidis, as well as regular and e-cigarettes.

"This is unimaginable, extraordinary progress," Matthew Myers, president of the nonprofit Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids said. "This is a change of a cosmic nature that has the potential to dramatically impact lung cancer, heart disease, asthma and other problems."

While this drop shows progress, Myers and other anti-tobacco advocates warn that the number of teens using tobacco products, approximately 3.9 million high school and middle school students, is still too high.

In 2016, the Food and Drug Administration made an attempt to regulate e-cigarettes, but delayed the initiative in May.

"The hard-won progress our nation has made in reducing tobacco use is in jeopardy from President Trump's 2018 budget proposal, which eliminates the CDC's Office on Smoking and Health -- the office specifically dedicated to fighting tobacco use," American Lung Association CEO, Harold Wimmer said in a statement.

Survey Highlights:

  • 11.3 percent of high-schoolers used e-cigs, down from 16 percent in 2015
  • 7.7 percent of high school teens smoked cigars
  • 9.6 percent of students surveyed said they used two or more tobacco products
  • 2.2 percent of middle-schoolers said they smoked cigarettes, while 4.3 percent said they vaped

"I think it's clear that these products are not a fad, given the exponential increase in their use up until 2015," King told MedPage Today. "They are the most commonly used tobacco products among youth in the U.S., with more than 2.2 million youths using them."

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