American teenagers are apparently shunning both tobacco and e-cigarettes in the kinds of numbers never before seen. According to the findings of a new report published by the CDC, tobacco use among high school teenagers has plummeted to its lowest level since smoking rates were first recorded. In addition, there are now fewer teens of the same age using electronic cigarettes than ever before.
The data was published in the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention youth and tobacco report, which noted an electronic cigarette smoking rate among high school students of just 11.3% for 2016. The year before, it stood at around 16%. An impressive decline, but made even more important by the fact that this was the first time the e-cigarette use rate among teens had declined since the CDC started tracking their use in 2011.
Things were just as reassuring with the tobacco use rate among teens, which at just 8% was also the lowest rate recorded since teen smoking started being tracked by the CDC. Experts have applauded the efforts of campaign groups and lawmakers – efforts which after quite some time are just beginning to deliver positive results.
“This is unimaginable, extraordinary progress,” said Matthew Myers, president of the nonprofit Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, also pointing out the fact that the tobacco smoking rate among high school teens was as high as 30% in the year 2000.
“This is a change of a cosmic nature that has the potential to dramatically impact lung cancer, heart disease, asthma and other problems.”
Unfortunately, the decline doesn’t in any way indicate that the overall problem with teen and youth smoking has been solved, or is about to be anytime soon. As it stands, it’s estimated that around 4 million teens of middle school and high school age regularly smoke tobacco.
What’s more, experts are still unwilling to give their backing to e-cigarettes of any kind, which are still so new to the market that it’s unclear as to how they may impact human health when used long-term.