Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Tobacco Product Use Among Middle and High School Students—United States, 2014–2017

The CDC long recognized racial/ethnic disparities in tobacco product use among the largest racial/ethnic groups in the US. But, they wanted to know more about tobacco use among youths. Pooled data from the 2014 – 2017 National Youth Tobacco Surveys were used to assess use of cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, e-cigarettes, hookahs, pipes, and bidis among US middle and high school students from white, black, Hispanic, Asian, American Indian/Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander, and multiracial students.

Among highlights are highest current tobacco use is among Native Hawaiians / Other Pacific Islanders and lowest tobacco use is among Asians. E-cigarettes are the most commonly-used tobacco products overall. The paper noted observed disparities in tobacco product use might be attributable to racial/ethnic variations in targeted tobacco industry advertising, marketing, and promotional activities.

The paper noted evidence-based strategies proven to reduce youth tobacco use include tobacco product price increases, clean indoor air policies, advertising and promotion restrictions, national public education
campaigns, bans on flavored tobacco products, and raising the minimum legal sales age of tobacco products to 21 years.

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August 31, 2018