Tobacco use by teens soars, erasing past progress, CDC says

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By Karin Roberts and Erika Edwards

Tobacco use among American high schoolers grew more than 38 percent last year from 2017, the government said in a report published Monday that blamed e-cigarettes for single-handedly erasing progress in keeping young people off the addictive drug. Among middle school students, the increase — 28.6 percent — was equally sobering.

The report, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that overall last year, more than one in four high schoolers and about one in 14 middle schoolers reported using a tobacco product in the previous 30 days — 4.9 million kids in total. In 2018, e-cigs were still the most commonly used tobacco product among teens.

“It’s putting a new generation at risk for nicotine addiction,” Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the CDC’s director, said in a news release. “Youth use of any tobacco product, including e-cigarettes, is unsafe.”