News on Wellness

Teen Smoking Rate Leveling Off

The United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) recently reported that the rate of smoking in teens and pre-teens was once descending but is now beginning to level off. In the past ten years there has been an overall decrease in the percentage of high school and middle school aged children experimenting or becoming habitual tobacco users.

Approximately 17% of high school students are using tobacco on a regular basis. That number was expected to be much lower considering the direct correlation between year and a decrease in the tobacco use rate. The CDC concluded from their data that more needs to be done to lower the percentage of users. In this current economic hardship funding in schools had to be cut from every area that wasn’t entirely necessary. Some programs that have seen drastic budget cuts have been those such as Students Opposing Smoking (SOS) and Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE).

Not only do schools need more funding for these programs according to the CDC but the government can play their part a well. An increase in regulation on how cigarettes and other tobacco products are targeting school aged children may have a positive effect. Putting larger and more noticeable warnings on tobacco products and funding anti-tobacco programs outside of the school system may also be necessary.

The results were based on the National Youth Tobacco Survey which took more than 22,000 students and had them fill out a voluntary and confidential questionnaire each year from 2000 to 2009. The survey did not only ask for cigarette use but for any other tobacco products such as pipes, cigars, chewing tobacco, etc. Students currently using tobacco products were those who had used one of the designated products at least one time in the last month. Students who were just considered to be experimenting with tobacco products were defined as any student who had taken one puff or more of a cigarette but less than one hundred in their lifetime. While the tobacco use rate among school ages children is still decreasing each year, it is the decreasing rate that is lower and leveling off. Changes are necessary so that the positive trend does not reverse itself.

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