CDC Study: Cigarette use, sexual activity among teens down

WASHINGTON — A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that teen smoking, drinking and sexual activity have declined. 

The 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which includes data from 21 school districts and 42 states, showed that tobacco use has declined steadily since 1991, with only 15.7% of teens surveyed responding that they currently smoked — down almost 3% since 2011 and about 12% since 1991. Drinking among teensalso has  declined to 34.9% — down almost 4% since 2011 and 15% since 1991.

Additionally, the percentage of teens who reported being sexually active — 34% —  though up slightly since 2013, has decreased about 3.5% since 1991. However, the dip in the number of sexually active teens has been accompanied by a slight dip in condom use, which has been declining since 2003, though the 2013 number is an improvement since 1991.  

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

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