Youth Tobacco Use Declines
Antismoking campaigns geared toward youths seem to be working. The number of youths aged 12 to 17 who became daily smokers decreased from 3,186 per day in 1997 to 2,145 per day in 1999, a 33 percent decline, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ 2000 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse. “This change reflects years of public and private sector antitobacco efforts,” said Health & Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson. Overall, current cigarette use declined between 1999 and 2000 among youths aged 12 to 17. The rate of cigarette use in this age group declined from 14.9 percent in 1999 to 13.4 percent in 2000. This decrease was primarily among boys. The rate of smoking was higher for females (14.1 percent) than for males (12.8 percent). In other findings, overall rates for current use of illicit drugs were relatively unchanged, although drug use did decline among the youngest teens. The study found that parents play a key role in their child’s decision to try illegal drugs. “Strong antidrug attitudes by parents are one of the most powerful influences on our children,” said Thompson. The National Household Survey on Drug Abuse provides annual estimates of illicit drug, alcohol and tobacco use in the United States and monitors trends in use over time. Over 71,000 youths ages 12 and over were interviewed for the study.
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