CDC pushes increased 'tobacco control' as teen smoking holds steady

Roughly one in four U.S. high school students currently use a tobacco product, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported Thursday in a sign that teen smoking rates remain stalled.

The vast majority (90 percent) of those teens use a product that is lit, such as cigarettes, cigars, hookahs and pipes, the CDC said, expressing "particular concern" at the trend.

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“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," said Tim McAfee, director of the CDC's Office on Smoking and Health.

"Fully implementing proven tobacco control programs would help keep our youth from falling victim to tobacco," McAfee said.

The report of 2013 survey data noted a finding by the surgeon general's office that unless youth smoking rates decline dramatically, 5.6 million young people will die prematurely from a disease related to cigarette use.

Tobacco consumption among teens has remained fairly steady for about five years, according to CDC data.

The trend raises questions about the effectiveness of current anti-smoking initiatives and led some advocates to call for further regulation of tobacco products.

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network President Chris Hansen called on the Food and Drug Administration to beef up its standards for the industry.

"It’s alarming that more than 50 years after the U.S. Surgeon General first warned about the hazards of smoking, nearly one in four high school students in America use tobacco [and] one in eight high schoolers regularly use two or more tobacco products," Hansen said, citing data from the CDC report. 

"With the health of our nation’s youth hanging in the balance, the FDA must urgently finalize its proposal to regulate all tobacco products. It’s time for the FDA to even the playing field and ensure our children are protected from the predatory practices of the tobacco industry."

The CDC reported a rise in the number of teens using e-cigarettes, from 2.8 percent in 2012 to 4.5 percent in 2013.