Florida youth tobacco trends mirror the national data

From the Florida Department of Health

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) analyzed data from the 2011–2017 National Youth Tobacco Surveys (NYTS) to determine recent patterns of current (past 30-day) tobacco use among youth.

Overall, cigarette smoking among high school students in the United States declined significantly from 15.8 percent in 2011 to 7.6 percent in 2017, according to the new data. Yet, nearly 3 million teens said they were current tobacco users in 2017 – defined as having used a tobacco product in the past 30 days.

While there has been substantial progress, the new report shows troubling trends among youth. In 2017, about half, or 46.8 percent, of high school students who used a tobacco product reported using two more tobacco products. Youth who use multiple tobacco products are at higher risk for developing nicotine dependence and might be more likely to continue using tobacco into adulthood. The report also shows that e-cigarettes are the most commonly used form of tobacco by youth in the U.S.

In Florida, use of traditional tobacco products is at an all-time low among teens. In 2017, 4.2 percent of Florida high school students reported currently using cigarettes, which is well below the national rate (7.6 percent) reported.

Yet, Florida has experienced similar alarming trends. Among current tobacco users in high school, 47.5 percent reported using two or more products.

In recent years, e-cigarette use (or electronic vaping) saw a rapid increase among Florida high school students, reaching 18 percent in 2016. The 2017 data was the first year that saw a decline. However, the current e-cigarette use rate among Florida high school students was 15.7 percent in 2017 – far higher than any other tobacco product. E-cigarette use is associated with the use of other tobacco products among youth and young adults, including cigarettes and other burned tobacco products.

Nicotine addiction is the fundamental reason people persist in using tobacco. Cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in Florida and the U.S.

Continued youth prevention efforts are needed to discourage tobacco use initiation and counter social norms among subpopulations affected by tobacco-related disparities.

These new findings can be found in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report at https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/67/wr/mm6722a3.htm.

The Florida Department of Health’s 2017 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey can be downloaded at www.floridahealth.gov/statistics-and-data/survey-data/florida-youth-survey/florida-youth-tobacco-survey/index.html.

About the Florida Department of Health

The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit www.FloridaHealth.gov.

About Tobacco Free Florida

The department’s Tobacco Free Florida campaign is a statewide cessation and prevention campaign funded by Florida’s tobacco settlement fund. Since the program began in 2007, more than 188,000 Floridians have successfully quit using one of Tobacco Free Florida’s free tools and services. There are now approximately 451,000 fewer adult smokers in Florida than there was 10 years ago, and the state has saved $17.7 billion in health care costs. To learn more about Tobacco Free Florida’s Quit Your Way services, visit www.tobaccofreeflorida.com or follow the campaign on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TobaccoFreeFlorida or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/tobaccofreefla.

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