1 in 5 High School Kids Still Smoking
New Numbers Show Steady Drop in Teen Smoking
June 17, 2004 -- Fewer high-school kids now smoke than any time
in the last 12 years. Yet more than one in five students is still smoking, the
Half of those kids -- one in 10 high school students -- smoke a
lot. Yet the overall numbers show a steady decline, according to the latest
figures from the CDC's Youth Risk Behavior Survey. High school smoking is at
its lowest level since the survey began.
Here are the numbers, as reported in the June 18 issue of the
CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report:
- In 1999, 70% of high school kids said they'd ever used cigarettes. That
dropped to 58% in 2003.
- In 1991, 27.5% of high school kids said they were current smokers. That
went up to 36% in 1997 but dropped to 22% in 2003.
- In 1991, 12.7% of high school kids said they smoked a lot -- on at least 20
of the last 30 days. Frequent smokers peaked at 17% of high school kids in 1999
but dropped to 10% in 2003.
This decline in teen smoking came about despite an increase in
tobacco company advertising and promotion. In 1997, the companies spent $5.7
billion trying to get people to smoke. In 2001, they spent $11.2 billion.
Who's still smoking? White students are significantly more
likely than black or Hispanic students to say they smoke. This difference is
almost entirely due to the higher rate of smoking among white female
The CDC's goal is to cut teen smoking even further, to at least
16% of high school kids by 2010. To reach this goal, they urge continued
- Targeted, effective media campaigns
- Reducing depictions of smoking in entertainment media
- Discouraging family and friends from giving cigarettes to high school
- Promoting smoke-free homes
- Instituting school-based antismoking programs in combination with community
- Reducing the number of parents who smoke