Racial Differences in Tobacco Usage Among School Students

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers data on tobacco use by middle and high school students. Tobacco remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States. And tobacco use almost always starts during adolescent and young adult years. This includes college students.

The good news is that young African Americans are far less likely to use tobacco products than Whites. In 2017, 14.2 percent of Black high school students and 22.7 percent of White high school students reported that they used any type of tobacco product.

Some 2.8 percent of young Blacks reported that they smoked cigarettes within the past 30 days. For Whites, nearly 10 percent smoked cigarettes.

Nearly 5 percent of young Black smoked electronic cigarettes, about a third of the rate for young Whites. Blacks were also far less likely than Whites to use smokeless tobacco products. The rates of cigar smoking showed minimal differences between the races.

For middle school students tobacco usage rates are much lower. However, the racial gaps are minimal.

The full report, “Tobacco Product Use Among Middle and High School Student – United States, 2011-2017,” may be viewed here.


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