12:44pm Friday 22 November 2019

Youth Smoking Demographics Described in Surgeon General's Report

BUFFALO, N.Y. – More U.S. high school students and young adults report that they have smoked in the past 30 days than older adults, according to a chapter in the U.S. Surgeon General Report on youth smoking that was released today.

Tobacco and smoking expert Gary A. Giovino, PhD, chair of the Department of Community Health and Health Behavior at the University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions is contributing author on the chapter, “The Epidemiology of Tobacco Use among Young People in the United States and Worldwide.”

Giovino is available to speak with media today, March 8 from 11 am to 1 pm in his office in 310 Kimball Tower on the UB South Campus, and by telephone at 716-829-6952.

“The data we reported in our chapter reveals that one in four high school seniors report being a current cigarette smoker, that is, they report having smoked within the past 30 days, compared with one in three young adults and one-in-five adults,” explains Giovino.

In addition, he says, the data in the chapter show that youth and young adults who use tobacco are beginning to use multiple tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco as well as cigarettes. The data show that nearly one-third of high school females and more than one-half of high school males who use tobacco report using more than one tobacco product in the last 30 days.

“Companies are marketing smokeless tobacco products, such as snuff, as a ‘starter’ product and these products might actually be turning more people into tobacco users than if only cigarettes were available,” he says.

Data in the chapter also shows that the decline in smoking among adolescents and young adults that started in the late 1990s is beginning to slow.

The report, “Preventing Tobacco Use among Youth and Young Adults” will be released this morning at 10 a.m. in Washington, DC by Regina M. Benjamin, U.S. Surgeon General; it is a comprehensive report that provides the first update on youth and tobacco since the initial report on this topic in 1994.

Other findings reported in the chapter Giovino edited are:

–the use of smokeless tobacco is increasing among white high school males

— cigar smoking may be increasing among black high school females.

— about one in 10 high school senior males is a current smokeless tobacco user, and about one in 5 high school senior males is a current cigar smoker.

— The prevalence of cigarette smoking is highest among American Indians and Alaska Natives, followed by whites and Hispanics, and then Asians and blacks. The prevalence of cigarette smoking is also highest among lower socioeconomic status youth.

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