Tobacco Use By Youth Is Rising

Three teenage girls and one teenage boy sit outside with graffiti in the background.

Tobacco Use By Youth Is Rising

E-cigarettes are the main reason

There were 1.5 million more current youth e-cigarette users in 2018 than 2017.

There were 1.5 million more current youth e-cigarette users in 2018 than 2017.

4.9 million youth were current tobacco product users in 2018.

4.9 million youth were current tobacco product users in 2018.

Use of any tobacco product grew by 38.3% among high school students (2017-2018).

Use of any tobacco product grew by 38.3% among high school students (2017-2018).

Overview

Tobacco product use among US youth is increasing. More than 1 in 4 high school students and about 1 in 14 middle school students in 2018 had used a tobacco product in the past 30 days. This was a considerable increase from 2017, which was driven by an increase in e-cigarette use. E-cigarette use increased from 11.7% to 20.8% among high school students and from 3.3% to 4.9% among middle school students from 2017 to 2018. No change was found in the use of other tobacco products, including cigarettes, during this time.

Among youth:

  • E-cigarettes are still the most commonly used tobacco product, ahead of cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, hookah, and pipes.
  • E-cigarettes are the most commonly used product in combination with other tobacco products.
  • E-cigarette use is highest for boys, whites, and high school students.

Tobacco product use among high school students—2018

Tobacco product use among high school students—2018. Many high school students reported using tobacco products: Any Tobacco Product 27.1% E-cigarettes 20.8% Cigarettes 8.1% Cigars 7.6% Smokeless Tobacco 5.9% Hookah 4.1% Pipe Tobacco 1.1% SOURCE: Tobacco Product Use Among Middle and High School Students — United States, 2011-2018. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), February 2019.

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SOURCE: Tobacco Product Use Among Middle and High School Students — United States, 2011-2018.
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), February 2019.

Problem
Nearly all tobacco product use begins in adolescence.
Any tobacco product use among youth is unsafe, including e-cigarettes.
  • Cigarette smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals, including about 70 that cause cancer.
  • Nearly all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, contain nicotine.
  • Youth nicotine use can lead to addiction and can harm the developing brain, impacting learning, memory, and attention.
The Way Forward
Parents and Educators Can:
  • Set a positive example by not using tobacco products themselves.
  • Learn about different types and risks of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.
Healthcare Providers Can:
  • Ask specifically about e-cigarettes when screening for tobacco product use.
  • Warn youth about the risks of all tobacco product use, including e-cigarettes.
Schools Can:
  • Adopt and enforce tobacco-free campus policies that include e-cigarettes.
  • Reject tobacco industry-sponsored prevention programs, which are proven not to work.
States and Communities Can:
  • Prohibit smoking and e-cigarette use inside workplaces and public places.
  • Increase the minimum age of sale of tobacco products to 21 years.
  • Prohibit the sale of flavored  tobacco products.
Increase in youth e-cigarette use happened at same time as increased JUUL sales.

JUUL pods come in different flavors. One JUUL pod has the same amount of nicotine as 1 cigarette pack.  JUUL Pods & Flavors 	Nicotine Levels (Labels: “1 JUUL Pod = 1 Cigarette Pack”)

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JUUL is now the most commonly sold e-cigarette in the US.
  • JUUL is an e-cigarette shaped like a USB flash drive and is easy to conceal.
  • JUUL uses liquid nicotine refills called “pods,” which contain at least as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes and are available in flavors that appeal to youth.
  • JUUL devices are being used by youth in schools, including inside bathrooms and classrooms.

For More Information
1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636)
TTY: 1-888-232-6348
Web: www.cdc.gov

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30333
Publication date: February 11, 2019

Page last reviewed: February 21, 2019
Content source: Office of the Associate Director for Communication