Numbers of students interested in smoking are down, but smokeless tobacco interest remains unchanged, according to the CDC and FDA.
A new study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reporting that the number of students that who had never used cigarettes and cigars and were “definitely not” curious in them rose from 51.2 percent to 54.3 percent over a two-year period, according to an article on medicalnewstoday.com.
But, the same data revealed the percentage of students who have used or are curious about smokeless tobacco has not changed over the same period, from 2012 to 2014.
The CDC says the more than 480,000 deaths are attributed to smoking each year, and it remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.
Alexander Persoskie, of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products and a co-author on the study, said he and his colleagues wanted to address the factors that were driving students to use tobacco products, and the scale of use among them.
The research team analyzed national data on tobacco use among American students in grades 6-12, provided by the National Youth Tobacco Survey for the years 2012 and 2014.
The numbers show that between 2012 and 2014, the students that reported having ever used cigarettes fell from 26.4 to 22.4 percent, and the use of cigars dropped from 21.2 to 17.6 during the two-year period.
Persoskie said it was not clear why the data did not see a similar change in the number of students with regard to smokeless tobacco, but added the numbers for that group were already lower than the smoking group.
“Nonetheless,” continued Persoskie, “these findings underscore the importance of efforts to reduce all forms of tobacco use, including smokeless tobacco products, among U.S. youth.”
The study reports that 10.8 percent of American students say they were “definitely” or “probably” curious about cigarettes or cigars, as well as 11.4 percent for smokeless tobacco.
Calling the results promising for public health, Persoskie added, “The decline in ever-use of cigarettes and cigars among students over such a short period is encouraging and consistent with other studies showing declines in past 30-day use of these products among U.S. students in recent years.”