The number of middle and high school students who used any tobacco product fell to 3.9 million in 2016 from 4.7 million in 2015, figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show, the first such decline since the CDC began reporting the measure in 2011.
E-cigarette use among youth dropped for the first time in six years, driving a significant decrease in overall tobacco consumption among middle and high school students, according to a survey published Thursday.
Health officials have anxious about the booming popularity of vaping among children and the potential impact on future adult smoking rates.
The decline in e-cigarette use was even greater, falling to 11.3 percent of high schoolers in 2016 from 16 percent in 2015.
While the latest numbers from the 2016 National Youth Tobacco Survey are encouraging, it is critical that we work to ensure this downward trend continues over the long term across all tobacco products. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article.
While e-cigarettes are generally considered to be safer than cigarette smoking and are considered potential smoking cessation devices by some, King said they should not be considered safe for use by teens and younger children.
Every day in the US, more than 2,500 youth under the age of 18 smoke their first cigarette and more than 400 youth become daily cigarette smokers.
"Tobacco use in any form, including e-cigarettes, is unsafe for youth", said Corinne Graffunder, the director of the CDC's Office on Smoking and Health.
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One limitation of the study is that researchers didn't have detailed data to determine how often current or former e-cigarette users and cigarette smokers had used these products, the authors note.
The number who used traditional cigarettes fell to 1.4 million from 1.6 million. "We believe the decline is the result of many things, the most notable of which is the effort by the public health community to educate the general public about the harms of e-cigarettes to youth and young adults".
The latest data showed no decline in cigarette use among middle school students, where the rate was 2.2 percent in 2016 and 2.3 percent in 2015.
"This is unimaginable, extraordinary progress", said Matthew Myers, president of the nonprofit Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, noting that nearly 30 percent of young people smoked cigarettes in 2000.
For example, the FDA's "Real Cost" campaign, Gottlieb said in his statement, has helped prevent almost 350,000 kids from smoking since its launch in 2014, while the Truth Initiative has run "truth", a campaign featuring hard-hitting messages on the tobacco industry and its marketing tactics.
Among middle school students, 4.3 percent used e-cigarettes in 2016, down from 5.3 percent in 2015. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation's food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.
The tobacco users made up 20.2 per cent of high school students and 7.2 per cent of middle school students.
In 2016, the most commonly used products among middle school students after e-cigarettes were: cigarettes (2 percent), cigars (2 percent), smokeless tobacco (2 percent), hookah (2 percent), pipe tobacco (0.7 percent), and bidis (0.3 percent). But she added that the rapid innovation in the e-cigarette industry "underscores the urgency for full implementation of FDA regulation" of the products. "They are the most commonly used tobacco products among youth in the USA, with more than 2.2 million youths using them".