No decline in youth tobacco use

Tobacco use among middle and high school students has not changed since 2011, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The 2015 National Youth Tobacco Survey found that 4.7 million middle- and high-schoolers had used tobacco products at least once in the previous 30 days. More than 2.3 million of those students used two or more tobacco products, according to the CDC.

E-cigarettes were the most commonly used tobacco product among youth for the second straight year.

About 16 percent of high-schoolers and 5.3 percent of middle-schoolers used e-cigarettes in 2015 – up from 1.5 percent and .6 percent, respectively, in 2011, according to the CDC.

Overall, 3 million middle and high school students were current e-cigarette users in 2015, up from 2.46 million in 2014.

“E-cigarettes are now the most commonly used tobacco product among youth, and use continues to climb,” said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden, in a news release. “No form of youth tobacco use is safe. Nicotine is an addictive drug and use during adolescence may cause lasting harm to brain development.”

Youth cigarette smoking declined significantly from 2011 to 2015, but there was no significant change in the prevalence from 2014 to 2015, according to the CDC. In 2015, 9.3 percent of high school students and 2.3 percent of middle school students were current cigarette users, according to the CDC.

In addition, 8.6 percent of high-schoolers smoked cigars, 7.2 percent used hookahs and 6 percent used smokeless tobacco. Among middle school students, 2 percent used hookahs, 1.8 percent used smokeless tobacco and 1.6 percent smoked cigars.

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at or 360-735-4546.

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