Around 3,200 young people try a cigarette for the first time each day and nearly 2,100 youth and young adults become daily smokers. These statistics do not include the young people who try other forms of tobacco every day—from cigars, cigarillos and hookah, to new non-combustible products that deliver tobacco in the form of mints, breath strips and toothpicks—which make it easier to experiment. Of particular concern is the burgeoning popularity of electronic cigarettes, devices that warm a nicotine solution to produce an aerosol that is inhaled without the combustion of tobacco. To date these products have been unregulated, while their usage tripled among middle and high school students between 2013 and 2014, according to a 2015 report by the Center for Tobacco Products. Some e-cigarette marketing campaigns appeal to youth.
Unless innovative approaches are employed to dramatically decrease its use, the U.S. Surgeon General estimates that 5.6 million young people alive today will die prematurely from tobacco. Many more will live lives that have been compromised by its devastating effects.