Over 3 million middle, high school students in America say they’re using tobacco

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LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – A new National Youth Tobacco Survey found that 3.08 million middle and high school students in the United States are using tobacco products in 2022.

The study, conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, surveyed middle and high school students across the country from Jan. 18 to May 31.

Nearly 1 in 9 students reported current tobacco product use.  The term “tobacco product” in this study refers to commercial tobacco products and not to the sacred use of tobacco by some Native Americans.

For this study, students were asked about their use of e-cigarettes, cigars, cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, hookah, nicotine pouches, heated tobacco and pipe tobacco.

For the ninth consecutive year, e-cigarettes were the most commonly used product among all students, with 2.55 million reported users.

Among all race and ethnicity groups, non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native students had the highest percentage of tobacco product use, at about 13.5% of students.

Non-Hispanic White students reported the highest rate of e-cigarette use, at about 11%.

The students most likely to use tobacco are those who get mostly Fs, come from poorer families, experience psychological distress and identify as LGBT.

“It’s clear we’ve made commendable progress in reducing cigarette smoking among our nation’s youth,” Brian King, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products said in a press release. “However, with an ever-changing tobacco product landscape, there’s still more work to be done. We must continue to tackle all forms of tobacco product use among youth, including meaningfully addressing the notable disparities that continue to persist.”

In a similar survey in 2021, about 2.55 million students reported using tobacco in the 2021 school year.

Changes in the methodology of the 2022 study limit the ability to compare this year’s results with those from prior years.

Many factors contribute to youth tobacco product use, including flavors, marketing and misperceptions of harm, experts say.

The study suggests continuing disparities in tobacco product use.

To a certain extent, the study says disparities could be attributed to greater exposure to tobacco advertising and easier accessibility in racial and ethnic minority communities.

Other possible factors include social determinants of health, which are conditions in the places where people live, learn, work and play.

Categories: Health, News, US & World