Among high school students, current use of any tobacco product decreased from 24.2% (3.69 million) in 2011 to 19.6% (2.95 million) in 2017, according to findings from the 2017 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) by the FDA and CDC. Meanwhile, tobacco use among middle schoolers decreased from 7.5% (0.87 million) in 2011 to 5.6% (0.67 million) in 2017.
By product, among both middle (grades 6-8) and high school (grades 9-12) students, there were decreases in use of cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, pipes, and bidis, and an increase in e-cigarette use.
Despite the overall decline, in 2017, about 1 in 5 high school students and 1 in 18 middle school students currently used a tobacco product.
For the fourth year in a row, e-cigarettes continued to be the most commonly used tobacco product among high school (11.7%; 1.73 million) and middle school (3.3%; 0.39 million) students.
Furthermore, about 1 in 2 (46.8 percent) high school students who currently used a tobacco product and 2 in 5 (41.8 percent) middle school students who currently used a tobacco product reported using two or more tobacco products.
The authors concluded that the sustained implementation of population-based strategies, in coordination with the regulation of tobacco products by FDA, are critical to reducing all forms of tobacco product use and initiation among U.S. youth.
Youth tobacco use rates, particularly e-cigarette use, continue to be of concern to FDA. This spring, FDA announced a Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan, which includes a series of enforcement actions to prevent initiation of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, by youth. Further, FDA continues to invest in compelling, science-based campaigns, like “The Real Cost” and “This Free Life,” to educate youth about the dangers of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. In fall 2017, FDA further expanded “The Real Cost” campaign to include an online e-cigarette prevention ad. A full-scale e-cigarette prevention effort under “The Real Cost” brand umbrella is planned for fall 2018.