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CDC: More Than One-Fifth of High School Students Smoke

Experts say more regulation could stop young Americans from picking up the deadly habit

THURSDAY, Nov. 13, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- More than a fifth of American teens smoke or use tobacco in some way, according to research published in the Nov. 14 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The CDC's new National Youth Tobacco Survey found that in 2013 22.9 percent of high school students and 6.5 percent of middle school students said they had used a tobacco product within the last month. Overall, 46 percent of high school students and 17.7 percent of middle school students said they had at least tried a tobacco product. More than 12 percent of high school students said they currently use two or more tobacco products.

The researchers also found that cigarettes were the most common type of tobacco product used by white and Hispanic high school students (14 and 13.4 percent, respectively), followed by cigars (11.4 and 12.1 percent, respectively). Cigar use among black high school students was nearly 50 percent higher than cigarette use (14.7 versus 9 percent), and more than twice as high among black middle school students (4.5 versus 1.7 percent). Electronic cigarette use within the last 30 days was reported by 4.5 percent of high school students and by 1.1 percent of middle school students.

"Nine out of 10 smokers tried their first cigarette by age 18," Tim McAfee, M.D., M.P.H., director of the CDC's Office on Smoking and Health, said in an agency news release. "We must do more to prevent our youth from using tobacco products, or we will see millions of them suffer and die prematurely as adults."

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