Catawba County News

Tobacco use high among students

Tobacco use high among students

Published: July 10, 2018

HICKORY, NC – Western North Carolina high school tobacco use continues to climb, with youth use rising by 4.7 percent to 31.7 percent based on results of the 2017 N.C. Youth Tobacco Survey, recently released by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Data also show that 19.5 percent of Western North Carolina high school students report using e-cigarettes, compared to 16.9 percent statewide and 11.7 percent in the National Youth Tobacco Survey.

The state survey showed e-cigarettes have been the tobacco product most frequently used by middle and high school students in North Carolina, including Western North Carolina, since 2015.

Western North Carolina youth are also more likely than youth in other parts of the state to use smokeless tobacco, increasing from 7.4 percent in 2015 to 8 percent in 2017, compared with 6.5 percent and 6.3 percent statewide.

“While we have had a number of successes in preventing tobacco use and promoting tobacco cessation, there is still room for continued efforts,” said Catawba County Public Health Director Doug Urland.

One brand of e-cigarettes holds more than 60 percent of the U.S. market and delivers more nicotine than most of its competitors. San Francisco-based JUUL brand’s popularity among youth may be related to the product’s resemblance to a USB flash drive, which makes it easy to conceal.

“As new trends emerge, we are adapting and responding accordingly to reduce use of tobacco and other nicotine-based products, especially among youth,” said Urland.

Across North Carolina, half of high schoolers who use tobacco and nearly half of middle schoolers who use tobacco report using more than one tobacco product, which is similar to national data.

The North Carolina survey is administered in the fall on odd-numbered years within randomly selected middle and high schools. More than 6,300 students, representative of middle and high school peers across the state and in Western North Carolina participated in the 2017 survey. A state-level fact sheet and other survey information can be found here.

Counties included in the Western North Carolina data include: Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Cabarrus, Caldwell, Catawba, Cherokee, Clay, Cleveland, Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Gaston, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Iredell, Jackson, Lincoln, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mecklenburg, Mitchell, Polk, Rowan, Rutherford, Stanly, Stokes, Surry, Swain, Transylvania, Union, Watauga, Wilkes, Yadkin, and Yancey.

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