About 6.2 million U.S. middle and high school students were current (past 30-day) users of some type of tobacco product in 2019, according to new National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) data recently released in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The survey found that about 1 in 3 high school students (4.7 million) and about 1 in 8 middle school students (1.5 million) are current tobacco users.
For the sixth year in a row, e-cigarettes were the most commonly used tobacco product among high school (27.5%) and middle school students (10.5%). Tobacco products used by middle and high school students were not limited to e-cigarettes, but also included cigars, cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, hookahs, and pipe tobacco.
“Our Nation’s youth are becoming increasingly exposed to nicotine, a drug that is highly addictive and can harm brain development,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D. “Youth use of any tobacco product, including e-cigarettes, is unsafe. It is incumbent upon public health and healthcare professionals to educate Americans about the risks resulting from this epidemic among our youth.”
Many of these students are also using more than one tobacco product. Among current tobacco product users, about 1 in 3 middle and high school students (2.1 million) used two or more tobacco products. Among youth, symptoms of nicotine dependence are increased in multiple tobacco product users compared with single tobacco product users.