Since the first Surgeon General warning in 1964 about smoking, the popularity of smoking has dropped. Unfortunately, 34.3 million adults and 1.18 million high school students still smoke, and more than 480,000 Americans die each year due to smoking-related disease.
A new study, “Trends in smoking behaviors among U.S. adolescent cigarette smokers,” in the March 2020 Pediatrics, found that between 2011 and 2018, teens who use cigarettes smoked fewer days per month, smoked fewer cigarettes per day, and they started years later. However, e-cigarettes have become a major concern as 21% of youth reported e-cigarette use in the past month in 2018, compared to 8.1% of youth who smoked cigarettes.
Researchers for the study examined data on 11,123 middle and high school students from the 2011-2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey to analyze trends in smoking in students, 6-12 grades. They found that even among those that smoked, frequency of smoking significantly dropped, and the number who reported that they were light smokers (5 cigarettes or fewer per day) increased to 80.7% for all students and 88.4% for girls. Heavy smoking decreased significantly among female students but increased significantly among male students.
Researchers concluded that there is a need to target youth males with cigarette prevention and cessation strategies, and that it is also important to develop improved e-cigarette prevention and cessation strategies.
Source: American Academy of Pediatrics