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CDC Study Finds Tobacco Use Prevalent Among U.S. Teens

CDC Study Finds Tobacco Use Prevalent Among U.S. Teens

A new study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that more than a fifth of American teens smoke or use tobacco in some way.

The CDC found that “nearly 23 percent of high school students use tobacco products, and more than 90 percent of those teens smoke cigarettes, cigars, hookahs or pipes, said an article on HealthDay.com.

"Nine out of ten smokers tried their first cigarette by age 18," Dr. Tim McAfee, director of the CDC's Office on Smoking and Health, said in an agency news release. "We must do more to prevent our youth from using tobacco products, or we will see millions of them suffer and die prematurely as adults."

One anti-smoking expert agreed, the article said. Patricia Folan, director of the Center for Tobacco Control at North Shore-LIJ Health System said the new data "demonstrates the need for strong regulation of all tobacco products, tobacco labeling, as well as tobacco marketing.”

Nolan, the article said, “said that unless smoking rates among youth begin to decline, ‘Americans will continue to be burdened with tobacco-related disease, disability and death for generations to come.’”

The CDC's new National Youth Tobacco Survey, the article said, found that in 2013 “nearly 23 percent of high school students and 6.5 percent of middle school students said they had used a tobacco product within the last month. Overall, 46 percent of high school students and nearly 18 percent of middle school students said they had at least tried a tobacco product.”

“More than 12 percent of high school students said they currently use two or more tobacco products,” the article said. “That puts them at increased risk for developing nicotine dependence that can result in them continuing to smoke when they're adults, the CDC said. While many teens who use tobacco believe they can quit, about 75 percent of high school smokers will continue smoking into adulthood.”

The study found that “cigarettes were the most common type of tobacco product used by white and Hispanic high school students [14 percent and 13.4 percent], followed by cigars [11.4 percent and 12.1 percent].”

CDC also found that students are using electronic, or e-cigarettes, “4.5 percent of high school students and by about 1 percent of middle school students.”

"It is disheartening to learn that young people are using e-cigarettes in growing numbers," said Dr. Patrick O'Gara, president of the American College of Cardiology. "E-cigarettes, and particularly flavored e-cigarettes, are marketed to young people with tactics that are misleading at best and may be a gateway to the use of traditional cigarettes and nicotine addiction."

The article said that cigarettes “remain the leading preventable cause of disease and death in the United States, causing more than 480,000 deaths a year. For every death, about 32 people have a smoking-related disease.”

Read the full story and comment below. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor 

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