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New CDC Survey Finds Youth Still Lighting Up, Increasingly Trying New Tobacco Products

November 14, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. – November 14, 2013 – Cigarette use among middle and high school students remained stagnant between 2011 and 2012 while cigars, e-cigarettes and hookah grew in popularity, according to a report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Office on Smoking and Health (OSH).  The article, entitled “Current Tobacco Product Use Among Middle and High School Students—United States, 2011 and 2012,” is featured in this week’s issue of the CDC journal, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The report details that in 2012 nearly 1 in 4 high school students were current tobacco users and 14 percent of high school students reported currently smoking cigarettes. The prevalence of current cigar use was almost the same as the prevalence of cigarette use among high school males, and cigar use more than doubled among non-Hispanic black high school students since 2009. The report for the first time used an expanded definition of tobacco products that included snus, e-cigarettes, hookah and dissolvables. The CDC found that current e-cigarette use nearly doubled among both middle and high school students, and the percentage of high school students using hookah increased to 5.4 percent.

A statement from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), follows:

“The CDC data only adds to the weight of evidence that should compel the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to immediately assert its regulatory authority over all tobacco products. Although it is troubling that cigarette use remains stagnant among youth, it is even more disconcerting that teenagers are increasingly turning to other products that are produced and sold without any federal oversight. It’s time for the FDA to act and ensure our children are protected from the predatory practices of the tobacco industry.

“As we approach the 50th anniversary of the Surgeon General’s report that confirmed that tobacco use leads to disease and death, public health advocates celebrate the progress we’ve made in reducing tobacco use in our country while recognizing how far we have to go in the fight against tobacco. The smoking rate has been cut in half in recent decades, yet nearly 1 in 4 high school students use tobacco, and new tobacco products on the market threaten to reverse reductions in tobacco-related disease and death. Nearly 90 percent of adult smokers report they started smoking before the age of 18, and adolescents who use smokeless tobacco are more likely to become adult smokers than those who don’t use tobacco products. Without FDA regulation of all tobacco products and strong tobacco control laws at all levels of government, further progress that saves lives from tobacco use is under threat.”

ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit

Lauren Walens or Steven Weiss
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
Phone: (202) 661-5763 or (202) 661-5711
Email: or

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Jill Courtney
Phone: (202) 585-3278

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