CDC: Flavored Tobacco Products Increasing Teen Use


Seventy percent of middle and high school students who smoke are now choosing flavored tobacco products, reports the CDC.

This is a disturbing trend, the CDC claims, since the flavored products are encouraging a new generation of American young people to begin smoking which in most cases sentences them to disease and possibly an early death associated with nicotine addiction, reports CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden. NBC News’ Maggie Fox quotes Frieden as stating that the developing brains of teenagers are adversely affected by nicotine and everything possible should be done to protect kids from years of tobacco use and nicotine dependence.

The Centers have discovered that almost a quarter of high school students have used some type of tobacco product, as have 7% of middle school children. The FDA is also concerned that the flavored products are more appealing to young people and may appear to be safer. Already the FDA has prohibited candy and other flavorings in cigarettes, but this ban does not include other tobacco products such as e-cigarettes.

“We saw a marked increase between 2013 and 2014 alone, which has made e-cigarettes the most common tobacco product used among middle and high school students,” Brian King of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health  told NBC News.

E-cigarettes and hookahs come in a variety of candy-flavored choices, excluding menthol, he added, which naturally are especially appealing to adolescents. Teens also seem to like the way e-cigarettes look. Once tried, teens are likely to move on to traditional cigarette use.

The vapor products contain nicotine, but also include other chemicals including formaldehyde. The plan proposed by the FDA would make selling the e-cigarettes to kids under 18 illegal.

The 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey was used by the FDA in its report on disease, death, and health behavior, published each week.

“Among U.S. middle and high school students who used a tobacco product in the preceding 30 days in 2014, an estimated 3.26 million used a flavored tobacco product,” they wrote.

Pat Folan, director of the Center for Tobacco Control at North Shore-LIJ Health System in Great Neck, NY, says there are over 7,000 flavors, such as bubblegum, cotton candy, and chocolate, in many tobacco products other than cigarettes, writes Robert Preidt for US News and World Report. Kids have been educated on the dangers of smoking and most are aware that smoking is a deadly habit, but it is the flavors that seem to be making young people look at e-cigarettes, hookah, cigars, and smokeless tobacco as less harmful.

Linda Neff of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health led the new study, which was published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, and found that of the students who use tobacco, almost 61% had used flavored water pipe tobacco, up to 63% had smoked a flavored cigar, and about 59% had used flavored smokeless tobacco in pipes. These numbers are about the same for both girls and boys.

Of students who currently smoke cigarettes, a larger proportion of non-Hispanic blacks were found to be using menthol cigarettes (70.5%) than non-Hispanic white students (51.4%) and Hispanics (52.3%), reports Sabrina Cupit of WSB Radio Atlanta.


10 7, 2015
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