CDC: Fewer High School Students Smoking

A survey of the nation’s high-school students by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds that the teen smoking rate has dropped to its lowest level in more than a decade, the Associated Press reported June 17.

According to the study, 22 percent of high-school students said they smoked in 2003, down from 36 percent in 1997. Last year, 58 percent of students said they tried smoking, a substantial drop from the 70 percent of students who tried smoking in 1999.

The CDC said anti-smoking efforts and the high cost of cigarettes have been successful in reducing teen smoking and discouraging adolescents from starting.

“We are reaching all the youth. If we can stop youth from becoming addicted smokers, eventually we can stop this epidemic,” said Terry Pechanek, associate director of science for the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. “We’re starting to turn the corner on that — we’re making the progress we’ve been working toward for the last 40 years.”

However, the CDC said other studies have shown that the decline in teen smoking is slowing because states have cut funding for tobacco-prevention programs, while cigarette makers have doubled spending on tobacco advertising.

The study appears in the June 18 edition of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.