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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

23 Percent of High School Students Use Tobacco

It is no secret that the majority of adult smokers began using tobacco products during their teenage years. While smoking rates continue to decline, a new government study has found that almost 23 percent of high school students use tobacco products, HealthDay reports. The study found that more than 90 percent of those tobacco users smoke cigarettes, cigars, hookahs or pipes.

“Nine out of ten smokers tried their first cigarette by age 18,” Dr. Tim McAfee, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) 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.”

It has long been known that smoking cigarettes can cause lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke, but with every year that passes, research indicates that tobacco has a role in a number of other ailments. The U.S. Surgeon General released a report earlier this year warning that smoking tobacco is a causal factor in 10 diseases and conditions, such as:
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Erectile Dysfunction
  • Age-related Macular Degeneration
  • Liver Cancer
  • Tuberculosis
  • Impaired Immune Function
  • Orofacial Clefts in Infants
  • Ectopic Pregnancy
The report found that 46 percent of high school students and almost 18 percent of middle school students said they had tried at least one form of tobacco products, according to the article. More than 12 percent of high school students say they use two or more tobacco products, and about 75 percent of teenage smokers will smoke as adults, the CDC estimates.

The CDC report concluded that cigarette smoking contributes to the death of 480,000 Americans each year, previously estimated to be 443,000 deaths.

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