The CDC recently announced that the smoking rate among high school students dropped to 15.7 percent in 2013, down from 18.1 percent in 2011 – for a 57 percent decline since peaking at 36.4 percent in 1997 … this is encouraging progress; however, we have much more work yet to do!
According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, there are a few caveats worth considering:
1. 15.7 percent (2.7 million of America’s high school students) – still smoke.
2. There are huge disparities (e.g., West Virginia (19.6 percent) and Kentucky (17.9 percent), versus Florida and New York having youth smoking rates under 12 percent.
3. The use of other tobacco products remains a serious problem: high school boys now smoke cigars at the same rate as cigarettes and the rates of smokeless tobacco use have not declined since 1999.
The lack of progress in reducing cigar and smokeless tobacco use isn’t surprising given how these products have been, especially over the last six years, aggressively marketed to kids. E-cigarettes are another example of how tobacco products are being overtly marketed to kids. In addition to continuing to reduce the youth smoking rate, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is very much focused on curtailing industry efforts to addict kids to these new tobacco products.
Please see the latest Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Blog Post titled “Nine E-Juice Flavors That Sound Just Like Kids’ Favorite Treats“ to view and learn about the tobacco marketing efforts focused on our youth!