Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Smoking Cessation Health Center

Font Size

Youth Tobacco Use: Downward Trend Is Slowing

CDC Report Shows Current Cigarette Smoking by High School Students Is About 17%
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

Aug. 26, 2010 -- Current tobacco use by middle and high school students has declined over the past decade, but this trend has slowed in recent years and more work is needed to combat the problem, the CDC says.

The CDC, reporting in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, says comprehensive anti-tobacco programs need more funding and that the federal government should enforce legislation that requires larger, graphic health warnings on cigarette packages and in advertisements.

Further, broader tobacco-free policies, tobacco tax increases, and advertisement restrictions would help further reduce both youth and adult tobacco use, the report says.

The analysis was based on data from the National Youth Tobacco Survey, a school-based study that collects information on tobacco use and related behaviors. In this study, 22,679 young people participated; they were asked to complete self-administered questionnaires each year from 2000 to 2009.

Besides cigarettes, youths were asked about use in the past month of cigars, smokeless tobacco, pipes, small brown cigarettes wrapped in leaves, called bidis, and clove cigarettes, or kreteks.

Current use was defined as use on at least one occasion in the past 30 days. Experimentation was defined as ever having smoked a cigarette, even a puff or two, but fewer than 100 cigarettes.

Pattern of Tobacco Use Decline

Among other things, the report says that, from 2000 to 2009:

  • Prevalence of current tobacco use reported by high school kids declined from 34.5% to 23.9%.
  • Prevalence of current cigarette use dropped from 28% to 17.2%.
  • Experimentation with tobacco dropped from 39.4% to 30.1%.
  • Prevalence of current tobacco use among middle school students declined from 15.1% to 8.2%.
  • Prevalence of current cigarette use among middle school kids dropped from 11% to 5.2%.
  • Among middle school kids, experimentation with cigarettes declined from 29.8% to 15%.

The report notes that in 2009, some 8.2% of middle school students and 23.9% of those in high school reported they used tobacco in some form.

Decreases from 2006 to 2009 were found only among middle school students for current cigarette use in girls, dropping from 6.4% to 4.7%, and in non-Hispanic whites, from 6.5% to 4.3% in the same years.

Today on WebMD

hands breaking a cigarette
Is quitting cold turkey an effective method?
14 tips to get you through the first hard days.
smoking man
Surprising impacts of tobacco on the body.
cigarette smoke
What happens when you kick the habit?

Filtered cigarettes
an array of e cigarettes
human heart
Woman experiencing withdrawal symptoms

man smoking cigarette
no smoking sign
Woman ashing cigarette in ashtray
chain watch