Teen Tobacco Use

Teen tobacco use has decreased by more than half in less than a decade

In a survey of Washington public school students, 8th, 10th, and 12th graders were asked about how many times in the past 30 days they had used tobacco, including smoking cigarettes, smoking cigars, hookah, or chewing tobacco. Combining responses from 2014 and 2016, 11% of students in King County reported using one of these forms of tobacco in the past month.  Almost half of current tobacco users smoke cigars, smoke with a hookah, or chew, but don’t smoke cigarettes. While rates of teen cigarette smoking alone have fallen along with the use of all tobacco products, e-cigarette vaping has climbed.

  • Trends: Teen tobacco use fell steeply, from 23% in 2008 to 9% in 2016. Declines were seen across the King County teen population, including in all racial and ethnic groups and regions,

  • Grade: The percent of students reporting tobacco use more than tripled between 8th and 12th grade, from 5% to 18%.

  • Sexual orientation: The rate of tobacco use in lesbian, gay, and bisexual students (16%) was higher than the King County average.

  • Race and ethnicity: Tobacco use in American Indian/Alaska Native students (17%), Hispanic/Latino students (14%), and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander students (14%) was higher than the King County average.

Overall, about twice as many teens report using any form of tobacco as report smoking cigarettes. For more details, go to Teen Cigarette Smoking. For data on e-cigarette vaping, go here.


Notes & Sources

Source: Healthy Youth Survey.

Numerator: Students who responded more than "0 days" to any of the following: "During the past 30 days, on how many days did you: Smoke cigarettes? Use chewing tobacco, snuff, or dip? Smoke cigars, cigarillos, or little cigars? Smoke tobacco or flavored tobacco in a hookah, even just a puff?” 

Denominator: All students who answered the questions.

Every 2 years, Washington public school students in 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th grades answer questions about safety and violence, physical activity and diet, alcohol, tobacco and other drug use, and related risk and protective factors. To learn more about the survey, please go to https://www.doh.wa.gov/DataandStatisticalReports/DataSystems/HealthyYouthSurvey.