The CDC’s new 2017 National Youth Tobacco Survey shows that in 2017, electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) were again the most frequently used tobacco product among American young people; 11.7 percent of high school students and 3.3 percent of middle school students comprised the 2.1 million youth using e-cigarettes last year. Moreover, while there was a steep reduction in e-cigarette use among high school students from 2015 to 2016, there was no reduction in use from 2016 to 2017.
Overall, youth tobacco use has declined from 2011 to 2017, but the continued popularity of e-cigarettes over the past four years is cause for concern. Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, and nearly all tobacco use begins during youth and young adulthood. All exposure to nicotine affects the developing brain, possibly making nicotine addiction more likely in adulthood.
Bethany Hoffman is a Senior Editor for HealthCentral’s Cancer beat. She strives to reach health consumers on their own terms, empowering them to understand and act upon the health information that affects their lives so they can make effective, engaged choices. To do this, she is a passionate observer of how health, illness, and disability affect the human experience.