Report: Teen smoking falls significantly across 41 states

ROCKVILLE, Md. — Current cigarette smoking among 12- to 17-year-olds fell significantly from 2002 to 2010 in 41 states, according to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration issued last week. The report also found that during the same period, adolescent perception of risk from cigarette smoking has remained unchanged in most states.

“The Surgeon General’s Report on Preventing Tobacco Use among Youth and Young Adults notes that smoking is the nation’s leading cause of preventable death,” stated SAMHSA administrator Pamela Hyde. “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. 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.”

Adolescent cigarette use nationwide declined from 12.6% to 8.7%, but significant differences remained among states. For example, Wyoming had the nation’s highest rate of 13.5% — more than double the rate of 5.9% for Utah, the state with the nation’s lowest rate. The study defined current use as smoking in the past month.

The report showed that youths’ perception of great risk of harm from smoking one pack per day or more rose from 63.7% to 65.4% overall. However, the rate increased in only five states; the remaining states stayed at about the same level.

The report, “State Estimates of Adolescent Cigarette Use and Perceptions of Risk of Smoking: 2009 and 2010,” is based on findings from SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports for the years 2002-2003 and 2009-2010.

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