CDC Releases 2011-2015 Middle and High School Tobacco Use Data

Reports ‘statistically significant’ declines in combustible, smokeless use

By 
Thomas A. Briant, NATO Executive Director

High school cigarettes

MINNEAPOLIS -- Each year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducts the National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) to determine an estimated level of tobacco use among middle school and high school students. The CDC has released the results of the 2015 NYTS and included the data from the 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 annual surveys to detect trends in tobacco use.

The number of high school students that responded to the CDC’s national tobacco survey was 17,711 in 2015, 22,007 in 2014, 18,406 in 2013, 24,658 in 2012 and 18,866 in 2011.

The highlights of the 2011 through 2015 surveys include the following:

1. In 2015, 16% of high school students reported currently using an e-cigarette. At the same time, 9.3% of high school students reported using cigarettes, 8.6% reported using cigars, 6% reported using smokeless tobacco and 1% reported using pipe tobacco.

2. For 2015, 5.3% of middle school students reported currently using an e-cigarette. In addition, 2.3% reported current use of cigarettes, 1.6% reported using cigars, 1.8% currently use smokeless tobacco and 0.4% reported using pipe tobacco.

3. Comparing NYTS figures from 2011 through 2015, high school students have reported the following current use of these tobacco products:

  • E-cigarette use has increased from 1.5% in 2011 to 16% in 2015.
  • Cigarette use has significantly declined from 15.8% in 2011 to 9.3% in 2015.
  • Smokeless tobacco use has declined from 7.9% in 2011 to 6% in 2015.
  • Cigar use has significantly declined from 11.6% in 2011 to 8.6% in 2015.
  • Pipe tobacco use has substantially declined from 4% in 2011 to 1% in 2015.

4. Comparing NYTS figures from 2011 through 2015, middle school students have reported the following current use of these tobacco products:

  • E-cigarette use has increased from 0.6% in 2011 to 5.3% in 2015.
  • Cigarette use has significantly declined from 4.3% in 2011 to 2.3% in 2015.
  • Smokeless tobacco use has declined from 2.7% in 2011 to 1.8% in 2015.
  • Cigar use has significantly declined from 3.5% in 2011 to 1.6% in 2015.
  • Pipe tobacco use has substantially declined from 2.2% in 2011 to 0.4% in 2015.

These findings by the CDC show that the use of traditional combustible and smokeless tobacco products by high school and middle school students has declined from 2011 to 2015, with statistically significant reductions in the use of many of these products.