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Current Tobacco Use Among Middle and High School Students—United States, 2011

August 10, 2012 / Vol. 61 / No. 31


MMWR Introduction

CDC used data from the National Youth Tobacco Survey to examine current use of cigarettes and other tobacco products among middle school and high school students.

Tobacco use among American middle school and high school students showed a slow decline from 2000 to 2011, but when compared with other long-term studies, the steep rate of decline in youth tobacco use from 1997 to 2003 has slowed noticeably with steady funding cuts to state tobacco control programs since 2002.

In 2011, 7.1% of middle school students used some form of tobacco and 4.3% smoked cigarettes. After cigarette use, the most commonly used forms of tobacco among middle school students were cigars (3.5%), smokeless tobacco (2.2%), pipes (2.2%), bidis (1.7%), and kreteks (1.1%). Among high school students, 23.2% used some form of tobacco and 15.8% smoked cigarettes. Following cigarette use, the most commonly used forms of tobacco among high school students were cigars (11.6%), smokeless tobacco (7.3%), pipes (4.0%), bidis (2.0%), and kreteks (1.7%).

Although tobacco use continued an 11-year downward trend, tobacco use remains high among high school students. For example, among black high school students, cigar use increased significantly from 7.1 percent in 2009 to 11.7 percent in 2011. In 2011, cigar use among high school males (15.7%) was comparable to cigarette use (17.7%) and more than twice as high as cigar use among high school females (7.4%). Nearly 25% of high school males and more than 17% of high school females used some form of smoked tobacco product in 2011, while smokeless tobacco use among high school males (12.9%) was approximately 8 times higher than among high school females (1.6%).

The report reaffirms the need to return youth tobacco use trends to the more rapid rate of decline seen from the late 1990s through 2003. To further reduce tobacco use among young people, the 2012 Surgeon General’s Report recommends making tobacco products less affordable, running hard-hitting mass media campaigns, and adequately funding evidence-based tobacco prevention and control programs that will work in conjunction with new Food and Drug Administration regulations restricting the sale, distribution, and marketing of cigarettes and other tobacco products to youth.

 
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