Category: Children's Health, Health Magazine

Title:Teen tobacco trends

A recent study points to a decline in cigarette and chewing tobacco use

Despite the increase in use of e-cigarettes among adolescents, cigarette and smokeless (chewing) tobacco prevalence declined more rapidly between 2012 and 2019 than in previous periods, according to a recent study.

The analysis, published in JAMA Network Open by Georgetown University and the University of Michigan shows that past 30-day and daily use of both cigarettes and smokeless tobacco fell more rapidly since 2012, even as e-cigarette use began to increase— leading to historical low levels of both cigarette use and smokeless tobacco among teens in the United States.

“While the increases in e-cigarettes are indeed concerning and is something we need to address and reverse, the decreases in other tobacco products, in particular, cigarettes—the most concerning form of tobacco use—are accelerating,” said lead researcher Rafael Meza, associate professor of epidemiology and global health at Michigan’s School of Public Health. “This acceleration in the decrease occurs across grades, across races, across sexes.”


The study’s senior author was David Levy, PhD, professor of oncology and a member of Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The researchers looked at long-term and recent trends in cigarette smoking and smokeless tobacco product use among adolescents by grade (8th, 10th, 12th), gender, and race. With national data from 1991-2019, they examined the use prevalence of tobacco products in the last 30 days among key socio-demographic groups, identifying change of trend years for secondary and high schools.

They found that daily smoking prevalence among 12th grade boys increased 4.9% annually, 1991 to 1998, but saw annual declines of 8% between 1998 and 2006 and 1.6% from 2006 to 2012. However, from 2012 to 2019, prevalence declined at a 17% annual rate. Overall, daily smoking prevalence among 12th graders fell to about 2% by 2019.

“This is an astoundingly low rate, and our goal from a public health perspective should be to keep smoking at this rate or lower,” said Georgetown’s Levy.

“So I think the good news is that the rapid increase in e-cigarette use has not yet resulted in a reversal of the decreasing trends of cigarette smoking and smokeless tobacco use, and if anything, those trends have accelerated,” added Meza.

Photo: Unsplash

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