Lifestyle & Belief

Tobacco use down in teens


An Indonesia teenager smokes on February 6, 2009 in Jakarta, Indonesia. A new study suggests that any film containing smoking should be rated R to help curb teen smoking.


Dimas Ardian

A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that fewer middle- and high-schoolers are using tobacco.

According to the study, tobacco use decreased from 14.9 percent to 7.1 percent between 2000 and 2011 for middle-schoolers, while cigarette use, specifically, fell from 10.7 percent to 4.3 percent during that time period, the Huffington Post reported.

Large drops were also reported for high-schoolers. Current tobacco use for that age group went down from 34.4 percent to 23.2 percent between 2000 and 2011, while current cigarette use went down from 27.9 percent to 15.8 percent.

CDC director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden said in a statement, "An overall decline in tobacco use is good news, but although 4 out of 5 teens don't smoke, far too many kids start to smoke every day. Most tobacco use begins and becomes established during adolescence. This report is further evidence that we need to do more to prevent our nation’s youth from establishing a deadly addiction to tobacco."

But furthering tobacco education and prevention may be harder now than before. reported that while teen tobacco use plummeted in the US between 1997 to 2003, "that decline started losing momentum in the early 2000s as states cut funding for tobacco-control programs." Time noted that following the funding cuts, there was no significant decline in tobacco use among middle school students. 

Dr. Tim McAfee, director of CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, told Time, "The good news is we know things we can do that work. We succeeded in having much more dramatic rates of decline in the late 90s and early 2000s. We have new capacity with FDA regulatory authority of tobacco that we’ve never had before. If we work together around this, we can turn it around in a relatively short period of time.”