Habits of Young Adults Threaten to Reverse Cancer Progress

Brittany Lovely
Published: Sunday, May 05, 2019
Smoking and obesity rates are rising rapidly among middle school and high school students, and these trends may undo the progress made against tobacco- and obesity-related cancers in adults, according to reports from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Trust for America’s Health in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.1,2

The CDC’s National Youth Tobacco Survey results indicated that in 2018, 27.1% of high school students (4.04 million) and 7.2% of middle school students (840,000) used tobacco products (Figures 1 and 2).

Figure 1. Estimated Prevalence of Tobacco Products Used By High School Students—2018

Figure 1. Estimated Prevalence of Tobacco Products Used By High School Students 2018

Figure 2. Estimated Prevalence of Tobacco Products Used By Middle School Students—2018

Figure 2. Estimated Prevalence of Tobacco Products Used By Middle School Students 2018

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) topped the list—they were used by 20.8% of high schoolers (3.05 million) and 4.9% of middle schoolers (570,000). Increasing use of e-cigarettes among US youths, coupled with no change in use of other tobacco products from 2017 to 2018, eclipsed recent progress in reducing overall tobacco product use in this population, the CDC reported, describing the growing attachment to e-cigarettes as an “epidemic”1 (Figure 3).

Figure 3. Tobacco Product Use Among High School Students—2018

Figure 3. Tobacco Product Use Among High School Students 2018

“Approximately 1.5 million more youths…used e-cigarettes in 2018 (3.6 million) compared with 2017 (2.1 million),” the report stated.

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