What great news for the New Year–daily cigarette smoking among high school students has fallen by 50 percent or more over the past five years! This is significant, since tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death and disease in the United States.
As reported in The Wall Street Journal, the recent NIH-funded Monitoring the Future survey conducted by the University of Michigan found that about 5.5 percent of 12th grade students reported smoking cigarettes daily, down from 11 percent five years ago.
The news was similarly positive for the surveyed 10th and 8th grade students. Among 10th graders, only 3 percent smoked cigarettes daily, down from 6.6 percent five years ago. Only 1.3 percent of 8th graders reported smoking daily, down from 2.9 percent. The study surveyed about 45,000 students from over 380 schools across the country. This downward trend in cigarette use is testament to the great strides our country has made in preventing youth smoking.
The National Consumers League (NCL) commends organizations such as the Truth Initiative and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids for their work in educating young people about the serious health risks of tobacco. However, NCL and its colleagues in the advocacy community are concerned about the use of electronic cigarettes, which is outpacing the use of regular cigarettes. NCL worries that e-cigarettes, as well as flavored little cigars, might represent new mechanisms for getting kids hooked on nicotine.
It is imperative that the U.S. build on these downward trends in cigarette use and win the fight against tobacco and nicotine addiction, in order to ensure many more happy and healthy New Years for our nation’s youth.