FDA Encouraged by CDC's Latest Youth Smoking Numbers

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FDA Encouraged by CDC's Latest Youth Smoking Numbers

06/22/2018
the 2017 National Youth Tobacco Survey by the CDC and FDA
The 2017 National Youth Tobacco Survey

SILVER SPRING, Md. — New numbers concerning youth tobacco use are out, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is "encouraged" by the downward trend.

"We're encouraged by declines in overall youth tobacco use over the last several years reflected in the 2017 National Youth Tobacco Survey. Protecting our nation's youth from the dangers of tobacco products is among the FDA's most important responsibilities and we're taking aggressive steps to make sure all tobacco products aren't being marketed to, sold to, or used by kids," said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.

The steps are integral to the agency's comprehensive tobacco plan it revealed in July and the focus of its Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan revealed in April, he added.

According to a new survey published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products, 3.6 million middle and high school students say they are current tobacco product users — defined as having used a tobacco product in the past 30 days — in 2017.

That is a decrease from roughly 4.5 million in 2011, the 2017 National Youth Tobacco Survey found.

Electronic cigarettes have been the most commonly used tobacco product among both middle and high school students since 2014, the survey added.

In addition, the survey found:

  • Nearly one in five high school students and one in 18 middle school students reported current use of any tobacco product in 2017, compared to nearly one in four high school students and one in 13 middle school students in 2011.
  • Among the 3.6 million tobacco product users in 2017, 2.1 million used e-cigarettes.
  • Among current tobacco users in 2017, 46.8 percent of high school students and 41.8 percent of middle school students used two or more tobacco products.

"While fewer youth are using cigarettes and other combustible tobacco products, we must do more to address the disturbingly high number of youth who are using e-cigarettes and vaping products," Gottlieb said.

"We must not lose sight of the fact that for the past several years, e-cigarettes have been the most commonly used tobacco product among both middle and high school students and a total of 2.1 million youth used e-cigarettes in 2017," he added.

According to the CDC, the decrease was most likely driven by tobacco prevention and control strategies, including price increases, smoke-free polices, media campaigns and youth restrictions.

"Despite promising declines in tobacco use, far too many young people continue to use tobacco products, including e-cigarettes," said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield. "Comprehensive, sustained strategies can help prevent and reduce tobacco use and protect our nation's youth from this preventable health risk."

Other key findings in the 2017 National Youth Tobacco Survey include:

  • Among middle school students, e-cigarettes were the most commonly used tobacco product (3.3 percent), followed by cigarettes (2.1 percent), smokeless tobacco (1.9 percent), cigars (1.5 percent), hookah (1.4 percent), pipe tobacco (0.4 percent), and bidis (0.3 percent).
  • Among high school students in 2017, the most commonly used tobacco products after e-cigarettes (11.7 percent) were: cigars (7.7 percent), cigarettes (7.6 percent), smokeless tobacco (5.5 percent), hookah (3.3 percent), pipe tobacco (0.8 percent), and bidis (0.7 percent).