Cigarette smoking in teens down to 15.7 percent, CDC says

By Waleed Khalidi,

Cigarette smoking in high school students has reached its lowest percentage since 1991, dropping to less than 16 percent.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that in 2013, only 15.7 percent of high school students said they smoked cigarettes, which is a big drop from 36.4 percent in 1997.

This means the government has reached its goal of getting teen cigarette smoking down to 16 percent or less by 2020, provided they can keep the number from spiking back up over the next six years.

β€œIt’s encouraging that high school students are making better health choices such as not fighting, not smoking, and not having sex,” Dr. Tom Frieden, CDC director, said. "Our youth are our future. We need to invest in programs that help them make healthy choices so they live long, healthy lives.”

Among healthy choices is the reduction in drinking sodas. In 2007, 34 percent of students were drinking at least one soda daily. In 2013, it dropped down to 27 percent.

In 2013, 32 percent of students watched three hours of television daily, down from 43 percent in 1999. However, the reduction in numbers seemed to just shift to computer use as 44 percent of students were on the computer for three hours or more daily for non-school purposes, skyrocketing from 22 percent in 2003.

Although the number of sexually active students has slightly declined to 34 percent from 38 percent in 1991, so has the number of those active using condoms, declining to 59 percent compared to 63 in 2003.

The government is still aiming to decrease the use of cigar and smokeless tobacco by teens, which remains stagnant in numbers. Hookah and e-cigarette use has also increased.



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