Cigarette Smoking Among U.S. High School Students at Lowest Level in 22 Years
Cigarette smoking rates among high school students have dropped to the lowest levels since the National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) began in 1991, according to the 2013 results released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
By achieving a teen smoking rate of 15.7 percent, the United States has met its national Healthy People objective of reducing adolescent cigarette use to 16 percent or less.
Despite this progress, reducing overall tobacco use remains a significant challenge. For example, other national surveys show increases in hookah and e-cigarette use. In the YRBS, no change in smokeless tobacco use was observed among adolescents since 1999, and the decline in cigar use has slowed in recent years, with cigar use now at 23 percent among male high school seniors.
"It's encouraging that high school students are making better health choices such as not fighting, not smoking, and not having sex," said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. "Way too many young people still smoke and other areas such as texting while driving remain a challenge. Our youth are our future. We need to invest in programs that help them make healthy choices so they live long, healthy lives."
The YRBS provides data related to behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence. The 2013 survey found encouraging reductions in physical fighting among adolescents:
For the first time, the surveys conducted by states and large urban school districts gathered information on texting and e-mailing by adolescents while driving. The survey's findings indicate that the use of technology while driving continues to put youth at risk:
The new YRBS report shows mixed results regarding youth sexual risk behaviors.
The report also indicates varied trends in obesity-related behaviors in recent years, such as excessive screen time and drinking sugar-sweetened beverages like soda.
"The Youth Risk Behavior Survey is an important tool for understanding how health risk behaviors among youth vary across the nation and over time," said Laura Kann, Ph.D., chief of CDC's School-Based Surveillance Branch. "We can use these data to help schools, communities, families, and students reduce youth risk behaviors that are still prevalent and to monitor those that are newly emerging."
SOURCE: CDC, June 17, 2014