With all the dangers of tobacco use well documented, you’d think that people under the age of twenty would want nothing to do with it. A recent report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention however, shows that is not the case. Indeed, the number of young people using tobacco is not only climbing, it is soaring.
According to a survey commissioned for the report, in 2018 the number of US high schoolers using tobacco rose dramatically by 38 percent from 2017. In the same period the number of middle schoolers using tobacco also rose, this time by 28.6 percent.
This is a highly worrying trend. When the survey was conducted around 25 percent of high schoolers admitted that they had used tobacco in the previous thirty days. When it comes to middle schoolers that figure dropped to just seven percent, but those numbers represent close to five million children who are unnecessarily putting their health at risk.
The report points the finger at one main culprit thought responsible for this alarming rise – e-cigarettes.
In a news release CDC director Dr. Robert R. Redfield said: “It’s putting a new generation at risk for nicotine addiction. Youth use of any tobacco product, including e-cigarettes, is unsafe.”
While the use of cigarettes remained stable in 2018, the use of e-cigarettes sharply accelerated. The number of children in grades nine to twelve using e-cigarettes rose nearly twelve percent, and the number of children in grades six to eight nearly doubled.
E-cigarettes heat up liquid nicotine, the vapor of which is then inhaled. The use of such devices – some of which look more like computer accessories than something you’d suck upon – is seen as being more discreet than puffing on a cigarette. E-cigarettes come in all kinds of flavors, most of them fruit-based.
“(The) progress that we’ve made over the past years has been completely erased,” CDC deputy Brian King told NBC News. “And it’s a primary result of e-cigarettes.”
“These results are strong evidence that e-cigarettes are not helping to drive down youth cigarette use,” said Matthew Myers, the president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “Indeed, if anything, the evidence to date indicates that e-cigarettes could increase the number of kids who smoke cigarettes.”
E-cigarettes were originally seen as a way for adults to start to limit their tobacco consumption by switching from cigarettes. Now they are simply seen as an alternative to cigarettes, and their damaging popularity continues to blossom.
If you’re looking for educational resources for your child who may be experimenting with tobacco of any kind, be sure to reach out to us to learn more about the Tobacco Education Program (TEP) which is a youth focused initiative in South Carolina designed to educate teens on the significant