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Am Fam Physician. 2006;74(6):1048

CDC Reports on Tobacco Use in Adolescents

Using data from the Global Youth Tobacco Survey, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) compared tobacco use among adolescents 13 to 15 years of age from 1999 to 2005 in six regions: Africa, the Americas, the Eastern Mediterranean, Europe, Southeast Asia, and the Western Pacific. The findings were reported in the May 26, 2006, issue of MMWR Weekly and are available at

About 17 percent of those surveyed reported use of a tobacco product in the previous month (9 percent, cigarettes; 11 percent, other products). The use of any tobacco was highest in the Americas and Europe (about 21 percent) and lowest in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific (about 12 percent). Overall, there were no significant differences between rates of cigarette use and use of other tobacco products. Cigarette use was more prevalent in Europe and the Americas (18 percent), but use of other tobacco products, including shisha, smokeless tobacco, and cigars, ranged from 13 percent in Southeast Asia to 6 percent in the Western Pacific. There were no significant differences in rates of current cigarette use by sex overall or in the Americas, the Eastern Mediterranean, or Europe, whereas data for adults indicate higher global rates of smoking in men than in women.

The use of tobacco by adolescents is a major public health problem. Effective, comprehensive tobacco-control programs must be developed, implemented, and evaluated in all regions. Tobacco-control programs must address the use of all forms of tobacco, not just cigarettes, and should address both sexes.

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