E-cigarette use among high school and middle school students has dropped for the first time in years, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. The same goes for other tobacco products.
The CDC analyzed the results of the National Youth Tobacco Surveys from 2011 to 2016, CNN says. These yearly surveys are given to middle and high school students in the USA, who then voluntarily complete the printed questionnaire.
The results show that from 2015 to 2016, there was a decrease in the number of high schoolers using e-cigarettes, hookahs, and other combustible tobacco products.
Brian King, deputy director for research translation in the CDC’s Office of Smoking and Health and an author on the report, stated,
This report has some good news, and it has some bad news, when it comes to youth tobacco product use in the United States.
He further explained, “The good news is that we’ve seen a marked decline in the use of tobacco products among our nation’s youth. However, the bad news is that we still have about 3.9 million US youth who are using tobacco products.”
While the results show a dip, there was no overall decrease in tobacco product use from 2011 to 2016. This is because more teens began using e-cigarettes over the past five years, leaving 20% of surveyed high school students and 7% of surveyed middle schoolers using tobacco.
The CDC is pointing to strategies in tobacco prevention and control as a factor in this decrease. These include the Food and Drug Administration’s campaign called “The Real Cost,” which had television commercials on the effects of smoking. Other policies included limiting tobacco access for youth in stores.
Public health experts want to ensure that these numbers keep shrinking. FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in a statement, “While the latest numbers from the 2016 National Youth Tobacco Survey are encouraging, it is critical that we work to ensure this downward trend continues over the long term across all tobacco products. Every day in the U.S., more than 2,500 youth under the age of 18 smoke their first cigarette and more than 400 youth become daily cigarette smokers.”