CDC report shows more than 3 million teens using tobacco

Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 10:46 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - More than 11% of youth across the country reported current (past 30-day) use of tobacco products, according to the latest report from the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They say that includes 2.51 million (16.5%) high school students and 530,000 (4.5%) middle school students.

The report also shows that for the ninth year in a row, e-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among the students surveyed.

“We worry about addictiveness of this chemical and how it’s being used and what that means for these kids later on,” said Dr. Wes Stubblefield, a district medical officer with the Alabama Department of Public Health. “Anytime you talk about a younger person, you’re thinking about a smaller body size. So if you’re delivering the same amount of chemical per body size, then automatically you’re getting a bigger dose.”

Dr. Stubblefield says the e-cigarettes are very potent and relatively accessible.

“In younger users, they a lot of times go on to become users of traditional tobacco products, so particularly concerning from that perspective,” he adds.

The CDC’s report shows 2.55 million of the 3 million students use e-cigarettes and the doctor says the products have become even worse over the years.

“The amount of chemical that they’re getting through these newer systems is very, very high and multiples of what would be a pack of cigarettes,” said Stubblefield.

He said parents should be aware of the popularity of these devices whether or not their child is a tobacco user.

While some of the products are more difficult to smell than regular cigarettes, Dr. Stubblefield says some parents tend to find pieces of the products in their students’ clothing or school bag or car and simply knowing the threat facing teens nowadays is important.

Dr. Stubblefield says there are documented cases of kids getting physically sick from withdrawals of nicotine. If you find out your child is an active user of tobacco, he says you may want to visit your doctor to figure out next steps.

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