The number of middle and high school students who say they are current tobacco users declined from 4.7 million in 2015 to 3.9 million in 2016, according to new data published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products. The report says the drop was primarily driven by a drop in e-cigarette use among middle and high school students from 3 million in 2015 to just under 2.2 million in 2016.This is the first time both vaping and smoking rates went down, the CDC reported. CDC and anti-smoking groups both said a combination of tobacco restrictions, advertising and taxes has helped reduce smoking rates.
“Our progress stems directly from implementing proven strategies, including higher tobacco taxes, comprehensive smoke-free laws, effective FDA oversight of tobacco products and marketing, well-funded tobacco prevention and cessation programs, and hard-hitting media campaigns, like the campaigns conducted by the CDC, the FDA and Truth Initiative in recent years,” said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, in response to the report.
Impact on General Dentistry: The CDC’s findings show that funding for tobacco cessation programs is critically needed and must remain strong in FY18, so CDC programs that educate the public on the harms of tobacco can continue full steam ahead. In light of this, the AGD will continue to partner with fellow stakeholders to urge Congress to reject funding cuts to these vital programs.