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Survey finds six-year decrease in smoking among youth

Thursday May 17, 2012
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Although a significant segment of minors and young adults still are smokers, according to a report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the percentage of cigarette use among these populations dropped between 2004 and 2010.

The rate of current cigarette use, defined as having smoked within the past month, decreased from 11.3% of adolescents in 2004 to 8.3% in 2010. The rate of current cigarette users among young adults decreased from 39.5% in 2004 to 34.2% in 2010, according to the report, based on data from SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

"Although some progress has been made in curbing youth smoking, the fact remains that one in 12 adolescents currently smoke and one in three young adults smoke — which means that far too many young people are still endangering their lives," SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde said in a news release.

"We must take every opportunity to prevent kids and young adults of today from becoming the hooked, ailing adult smokers of tomorrow," she added.

The NSDUH report revealed that the percentage of daily smokers among adolescents declined from 3.3% in 2004 to 1.9% in 2010. The percentage of young adults who smoked daily also declined, from 20.4% in 2004 to 15.8% in 2010.

Among these daily young adult smokers, the percentage who smoked 26 or more cigarettes per day (about 1.5 packs or more) decreased from 6% to 3.4% over this time period. Additionally the percentage of young adult daily smokers using five or fewer cigarettes per day rose from 24.4% in 2004 to 28.6% in 2010.

The report, "Trends in Cigarette Use among Adolescents and Young Adults," is based on combined data from the 2004-2010 SAMHSA NSDUH surveys involving 157,524 people ages 12 to 17 and 158,794 people ages 18 to 25. The full report is available at http://1.usa.gov/JSwX9b.

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