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Youth Nicotine Use

Tobacco product use among US youth is increasing. More than 1 in 4 high school students and about 1 in 14 middle school students in 2018 had used a tobacco product in the past 30 days. This was a considerable increase from 2017, which was driven by an increase in e-cigarette use. 

Cause for Concern

1.5 Million

There were 1.5 million more current youth e-cigarette users in 2018 than 2017.

4.9 Million

4.9 million youth were current tobacco product users in 2018.

38.3%

Use of any tobacco product grew by 38.3% among high school students (2017-2018).

Any tobacco product use among youth is unsafe, including e-cigarettes.
• Cigarette smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals, including about 70 that cause cancer.
• Nearly all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, contain nicotine.
• Youth nicotine use can lead to addiction and can harm the developing brain, impacting learning, memory, and attention.

Influencing Factors

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Environmental

The way media show tobacco product use as a normal activity can make young people want to try these products. Youth are more likely to use tobacco products if they see people their age using these products. High school athletes are more likely to use smokeless tobacco than those of the same age who are not athletes. Young people may be more likely to use tobacco products if a parent uses these products.

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Genetic

Genetic factors may make quitting smoking harder for young people. Smoking during pregnancy may increase the likelihood that the child will smoke cigarettes regularly in the future.

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Personal Views/

Mental Health

There is a strong relationship between youth smoking and depression, anxiety, and stress. When young people expect positive things from smoking, such as coping with stress better or losing weight, they are more likely to smoke.

Youth Tobacco Prevention

National, state, and local program activities have been shown to reduce and prevent youth tobacco product use when implemented together.

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Parents & Educators

Parents and educators can set a positive example by not using tobacco products themselves and learn about different types of tobacco products and the risk of using them, including e-cigarettes.

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Healthcare Providers

Health Care Providers should ask specifically about e-cigarettes when screening for tobacco product use and warn youth about the risks of all tobacco product use, including e-cigarettes.

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Schools

Schools can work to adopt and enforce tobacco-free campus policies that include e-cigarettes in addition to rejecting tobacco industry-sponsored prevention programs, which are proven not to work.

Communities

Local communities can promote youth tobacco prevention by prohibiting smoking and e-cigarette use inside workplaces and public places, increase the minimum age of sale of tobacco products to 21 years as well as prohibit the sale of flavored tobacco products.

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