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NAQC Newsroom: Research

Youth Access to Tobacco Products in the United States, 2016-2018.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019  
Posted by: Natalia Gromov
Sherry T. Liu, PhD, MPH, Kimberly Snyder, MPH, Michael A. Tynan, BA, Teresa W. Wang, PhD, MS
Youth Access to Tobacco Products in the United States, 2016-2018.
MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2019;68:860-864.

Objectives: In 2018, approximately 4.9 million US middle and high school students reported
past 30-day use of any tobacco product. This study describes how and where youth obtained
tobacco products and whether refusal of sale occurred during 2016-2018. Methods: Data from
3 annual waves (2016-2018) of the National Youth Tobacco Survey, a school-based survey of US
youth in grades 6-12, were analyzed among current (past 30-day) tobacco product users aged 9
to 17 years. Results: During 2016-2018, youth tobacco product users most commonly obtained
tobacco products from social sources. Although the percentage of users who reported buying
tobacco products significantly decreased from 2016 to 2018 (2016: 15.6%; 2018: 11.4%), no significant
differences in the prevalence of being refused sale were observed (2016: 24.7%; 2018:
25.5%). Conclusions: Whereas the number of youth users who report buying tobacco products
has declined, sales of tobacco products to youth remain a public health concern, as only one in 4
youth who attempted to buy were refused sale in 2018. Monitoring youth tobacco product purchases,
retailer compliance check inspections, and retailer penalties for sales to minors remain
important for reducing youth access at retail sources.


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