This is such good news, I’m actually having difficulty believing it at face value. (Too good to be true syndrome…).
According to a federal study (called the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics), the rate of teen smoking has dropped dramatically from 18 percent in the 1990s to 5 percent in 2012. That’s how many high school sophomores smoked a cigarette daily in the past 30 days.
Wow, 5 percent. That teen smoking rate was stubbornly stuck at 15 to 25 percent for 10 years, long after Joe Camel was forced into retirement … mostly because the tobacco industry was still finding subtle ways to market cigarettes to kids, and mostly because Hollywood stubbornly continued to show smoking in a “cool” light.
Numbers have also dropped for high school seniors and 8th graders.
“According to the report, 2 percent of 8th-graders, and 9 percent of high school seniors said they smoked daily in 2012. Compare that data to the survey’s peak smoking years in the mid-1990s, when those numbers were 10 percent for 8th graders, 18 percent for high school sophomores and 25 percent for high school seniors.”
This has really been my No. 1 priority personally over the last 10 years I’ve been into this issue … somehow finding a way to get fewer kids to start up smoking. Just telling them it’s bad for them doesn’t do it.
Not sure why those numbers are so dramatic, but I would give some credit to cigarette taxes and the cost of cigarettes going way up in the last 20 years. $6 for a pack in most places, compared to about $3 a pack 20 years ago. I also think less smoking in movies plays a role (no pun intended.).
The other good news, and a bit more scientific (this first study was based on surveys among kids, which has its merits), is that fewer kids are being exposed to secondhand smoke.
“The percentage of nonsmoking kids ages 4 to 11 whose blood had a detectable level of cotinine, a breakdown product of nicotine, fell from 53% to 42% from 2007-08 to 2009-10.”
That’s the result of fewer people smoking overall and more smoking bans.