Among middle and high school students who have used tobacco products in the last month, 70 percent have used at least one flavored product during that time, a new government study finds.
“Flavored tobacco products are enticing a new generation of America’s youth into nicotine addiction, condemning many of them to tobacco-related disease and early death,” Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said in a news release.
The CDC found 63 percent of students who used tobacco products (almost 1.6 million young people) had used a flavored e-cigarette. Among students who used tobacco, almost 61 percent used a flavored water pipe tobacco, 63 percent smoked a flavored cigar, 59 percent used flavored smokeless tobacco, 54 percent smoked menthol cigarettes, and 42 percent used flavored tobacco in pipes.
Flavored tobacco was more popular among high school students than middle school students. The study found 18 percent of high school students said they used at least one flavored tobacco product in the past month, compared with 6 percent who used only non-flavored products.
Boys and girls used flavored tobacco products at similar rates, HealthDay reports.
“Given the popularity of flavored tobacco products among youth, it’s critical to address flavorings in all tobacco products,” said Brian King, Deputy Director for Research Translation in CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. “Efforts to curb the availability and use of flavored tobacco products could help reduce overall rates of tobacco use among our nation’s youth.”
Several cities, including New York, Chicago, Providence and Santa Clara, California have acted to limit or restrict sales of flavored tobacco products. The CDC said other strategies to reduce youth tobacco include increasing the price of tobacco products, adopting comprehensive smoke-free laws, implementing national public education media campaigns, and raising the minimum age of purchase for all tobacco products to age 21.