— Adele, featured in Rolling Stone, Nov. 3, 2015.
American teenagers appear to be getting Adele’s message. According to the CDC, cigarette smoking declined among students in middle and high school between 2011 and 2014:
- Nearly 3 of every 100 middle school students (2.5%) reported in 2014 that they smoked cigarettes in the past 30 days—a decrease from 4.3% in 2011.
- About 9 of every 100 high school students (9.2%) reported in 2014 that they smoked cigarettes in the past 30 days—a decrease from 15.8% in 2011.
But teens are still attracted to other vehicles for nicotine. In fact, the CDC says high school students are more likely to use electronic cigarettes and hookahs than they are traditional cigarettes, and 24.6% of them admitted to using “some kind of tobacco product” in 2014:
- 13.4% of high school students use electronic cigarettes. (Increase of 1.5% since 2011.)
- 9.4% use hookahs. (Increase of 4.1%.)
- 5.5% use smokeless tobacco products (snuff, chewing tobacco).
The CDC’s director calls attention to smokeless tobacco products, telling Alex Lindley:
“We can do more to protect America’s youth from a lifetime of addiction,” said Tom R. Frieden, MD, MPH, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in a press release. “The fact is, smokeless tobacco products, such as chewing tobacco, snuff or dip, can cause cancer of the mouth, esophagus and pancreas. And the nicotine in these products is harmful to the developing brain. Because we know tobacco-free policies in schools and other public recreational areas work, we must take action now so that our children are safe from these toxins.”
Robert Preidt reports on a new study that reveals teens and parents are in agreement when it comes to tightening regulations to keep e-cigs, which are gaining popularity, out of the hands of teenagers:
More than 75 percent of teens aged 13 to 18 and parents believe e-cigarette use should be restricted in public areas and that the devices should carry health warnings and be taxed like regular cigarettes, according to the national survey conducted by C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. The hospital is part of the Ann Arbor-based university system.
The poll, released Monday, also found that 81 percent of teens and 84 percent of parents think allowing minors to use e-cigarettes will encourage them to use other tobacco products.
The study also found:
- 92% of parents and 91% of teens think e-cigarettes should have health warnings like traditional cigarettes.
- 42% of teens say they know other teens that have used e-cigarettes.
- Over half of parents and teens think it is easy for people under 18 to buy e-cigarettes.
- 64% of parents and 71% of teens support banning candy- and fruit-flavored e-cigarettes.
Adele peered into her crystal ball when her son was born and decided to stop smoking. The CDC has its own crystal ball:
Youth use of tobacco in any form is unsafe.
If smoking continues at the current rate among youth in this country, 5.6 million of today’s Americans younger than 18 will die early from a smoking-related illness. That’s about 1 of every 13 Americans aged 17 years or younger alive today.
Tomorrow on The PediaBlog: The American Academy of Pediatrics weighs in on what we know about the health effects of prenatal and childhood exposure to the toxicants present in tobacco smoke.
More PediaBlog on smoking and youth tobacco use here.