American Lung Association Responds to New CDC Data on Tobacco Use Among Middle and High School Students

Statement of American Lung Association Chief Medical Officer Albert A. Rizzo, MD in response to the release of a new article in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) regarding tobacco use among middle and high school students:

“Today’s MMWR confirms that teen tobacco use is still an alarming problem that requires immediate action. In 2019, close to 1 in 3 high school students (4.7 million) and 1 in 8 middle school students (1.5 million) currently use a tobacco product—this means 6.2 million kids total, up from 3.6 million just two years ago. We are failing the health of our youth if we don’t act quickly. Electronic cigarettes have not only replaced cigarettes as the product of choice among high school students, but they have addicted millions more youth. 

"More than 2.1 million kids are considered dual users, meaning they use more than one tobacco product concurrently, including e-cigarettes, cigars, cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and hookahs. 

"Flavors are one of the main reasons kids start to use tobacco products. More than 69% of students who used tobacco products reported using a flavored tobacco product in the past 30 days. Sales of flavored cigars have also increased by nearly 50% since 2008, and flavored cigars made up more than half (52.1%) of the U.S. cigar market in 2015. 

"This report reinforces the urgent need for the Trump Administration to act to clear the market of flavored e-cigarettes. The Lung Association also encourages further action by FDA, Congress as well as states and communities to prevent tobacco use, including prohibiting the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, increasing tobacco taxes and increasing the tobacco sales age to 21. Six million children can’t afford to wait."

Learn more about e-cigarettes and lung health at, including resources for parents and schools. For media interested in speaking with an expert about e-cigarettes, tobacco use and lung health, contact Stephanie Goldina at the American Lung Association at [email protected] or 312-801-7629.

For more information, contact:

Elizabeth Cook
[email protected]

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