Researchers from the US Food and Drug Administration and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently published a study that found that more over 3 million middle and high school students in the US, or 11% of all students, reported using tobacco now in 2022.
E-cigarettes, followed by cigars, cigarettes, and smokeless tobacco, were the most popular tobacco product among teenagers for the eighth year in a row (approximately 2.55 million reported using them).
The report, which was released on Thursday, stated that “youth use of tobacco products – in any form – is dangerous.” Such items include nicotine, a highly addictive substance that can impair a teen’s developing brain. Adolescents who use nicotine run the danger of developing an addiction to other drugs in the future.
The 2022 National Youth Tobacco Survey, which is given to young people in grades six through twelve, provides the basis for the study. A poll was conducted between January 18 and May 31, 2022. The researchers claim that it is difficult to compare the estimations with those from earlier years due to changes in methodology.
The paper describes differences in young people’s cigarette use: A whopping 13.5% of non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan native kids reported using tobacco products. White non-Hispanic youth reported using e-cigarettes the most (11%), while Black youth used combustible tobacco products the most (5.7%), including cigars (3.3%).
Additionally, there were higher rates of cigarette use among students who said they received predominantly F grades (27.2%), had severe psychological distress (18.3%), identified as transgender (16.6%), and were lesbian, gay, or bisexual (16%).
Deirdre Lawrence Kittner, director of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, stated in a statement that “commercial tobacco product use continues to endanger the health of our nation’s young, and inequities in youth tobacco product use persist.” “By addressing the issues that contribute to young people using tobacco products and supporting them in quitting, we can give our country’s kids the best chance at leading the healthiest lives possible.”
According to the report, communities of color may have “greater volume of exposure to tobacco promotion and advertising” as well as a larger density of tobacco retailers.
According to the research, tobacco use is “the biggest cause of preventable disease, disability, and mortality among adults in the United States,” and almost all tobacco use starts when people are still children.
The FDA should regulate tobacco products, and researchers recommend for ongoing monitoring of all tobacco products, tobacco control methods, and their implementation.
“It is evident that we have achieved commendable progress in lowering cigarette use among young people in our country. However, there is still work to be done due to the constantly shifting tobacco product landscape, according to a statement released on Thursday by Brian King, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products.
The fact that all of the data is self-reported and that only students attending public and private schools were polled are limitations. The results might not apply to adolescents in alternative education programs, juvenile correctional facilities, or youth who have dropped out of school, the report claims.