US teen tobacco use down to 3 million in 2022, ‘more work to be done’, health officials say

US teen tobacco use down to 3 million in 2022, 'more work to be done', health officials say

An estimated 3.08 million US middle and high school students reported using a tobacco product in the last 30 days in 2022, down from 4.47 million in 2020 and 6.20 million in 2019, according to government data released on Thursday.

The data found that one-in-nine US teenagers were currently using a tobacco product.

E-cigarettes were the most commonly used tobacco product among teens for the ninth consecutive year, according to the study published in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The survey found cigars to be second most popular with 500,000 reporting use, followed by 440,000 cigarette smokers.

Nearly 31 per cent of the students surveyed reported using multiple products, which the CDC called “particularly concerning” as that has been linked to nicotine dependence and sustained use in adulthood.

Use of combustible tobacco products was highest among Black students at 5.7 per cent. That compares with 4.7 per cent for those who identify as multiracial, 4.6 per cent of Native American and Alaska Native students, 3.9 per cent for Hispanics, and 3.4 per cent of white students.

More than 3 per cent of Black students reported smoking cigars, while 2.3 per cent reported using a hookah.

Cigarette smoking among US youths has been steadily declining in the last two decades, although the CDC cautioned against comparing the results to previous years due to a change in the method of data collection related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With an ever-changing tobacco product landscape, there’s still more work to be done,” US Food and Drug Administration’s director of tobacco products Brian King said about reducing adolescent usage of nicotine products.

The study was based on an annual national survey that took place from January to May this year, which showed that nearly 11.3 per cent of all students had used a tobacco product in the last 30 days.

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