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Teen Smoking has Fallen Across Most of the US

A new study suggests that there is a decline in the number of teen smokers across the U.S. and that now, the overall percentage of youth smoking is under 9 percent nationwide, with Wyoming leading with the highest rate of smokers and Utah having the lowest.

According to a new federal government report, there has been a significant decline in cigarette smoking among children aged 12 to 17 in the U.S., between 2002 and 2010 in 41 states.

The report suggests that overall, adolescents have cut down on cigarette smoking from 12.6 percent to 8.7 percent during these eight years, but there is a large difference noted in the rate of smoking among youngsters between states. For example, while Wyoming has 13.5 percent teen smokers, Utah has just under 6 percent.

The total number of youngsters who understood and believed the harm from smoking one pack or more a day saw a slight increase from 63.7 percent to 65.4 percent. However, this increase in the awareness was witnessed only in five states, the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) report said.

Previous research suggests that the awareness of the ill-effects of smoking does discourage adolescents from smoking.

"Although this report shows that considerable progress has been made in lowering adolescent cigarette smoking, the sad, unacceptable fact remains that in many states about one in 10 adolescents smoked cigarettes in the past month," SAMHSA administrator Pamela Hyde said in an agency news release.

"The report also shows that we must collectively redouble our efforts to better educate adolescents about the risks of tobacco and continue to work with every state and community to promote effective tobacco use prevention and recovery programs."

The press release noted that over 15 years, tobacco sales to young adults reduced from about 40 percent to 8.5 percent.

Published: Thursday, November 22, 2012

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