Fewer teens becoming new cigarette smokers
A government study finds the number of kids under 18 lighting up for the first time at the lowest level in decades.
The culture and industry of smoking seem to have their own peculiar cycles. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says cigarette smoking is responsible for nearly one out of every five deaths in the U.S., including the more than 10% as the result of secondhand smoke exposure.
Between 2000 and 2004, cigarette smoking cost the U.S. more than $193 billion in health care expenses and lost productivity.
And for decades, as older smokers die off, young new smokers have taken their place. Every day close to 4,000 American kids under the age of 18 smoke their first cigarette -- and nearly 1,000 of them become brand-new, daily cigarette smokers.
But that cycle may be breaking. A new report from the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics said the percentage of 8th, 10th and 12th grade students who reported smoking cigarettes daily last year was at its lowest level in the survey's history.
According to the report, 2% of 8th-graders, 5% of 10th-grade students and 9% 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%, 18% and 25%, respectively.
Children's exposure to secondhand smoke also went down. In examining so-called environmental smoke levels, the study noted the percentage of kids ages 4 to 11 with detectable levels of cotinine, a breakdown product of nicotine, in their blood fell from 88% in 1988-1994 to 42% in 2009-2010.
A variety of factors are in play when it comes to the decline in smoking among teens: the rising cost of cigarettes and the economic downturn, lower birth rates, a decline in overall national population growth and better education about the long-term health hazards of tobacco use.
Danny McGoldrick, vice president for research for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said tobacco taxes and new regulations limiting where people can smoke have also helped bring down the number of young smokers. But he told the Los Angeles Times anti-smoking campaigns have shown signs of losing their momentum among teens in recent years.
Said McGoldrick: "We need to invest in more of what has worked in the past to accelerate these declines."
We continuously vilify the evils of tobacco, rightfully so, but we never seem to hear about the bigger danger in our society.
The CDC reports that cigarette smoking costs more than $193 billion (i.e., $97 billion in lost productivity plus $96 billion in health care expenditures) annually.
At the same time the CDC reports excessive alcohol consumption cost the U.S. $224 billion annually.
It seems the alcohol lobby is better funded than the tobacco lobby.
Less kids are smoking cigarette. Smoking pot is more fun than cigarettes, and with liberal groups pushing for more legalization of marihuana , those numbers will go high.
Moms and dads cut off allowances to the kiddies during the down turn so the kids have turned to attacking the parent's stash. What are those stats now?
I think more kids are realizing that it is gross, not cool. Also, most kids nowadays are more comfortable being themselves instead of what everyone expects them to be which I think makes them less likely to give into peer pressure.
Yes, drinking is still a problem, but it does not affect me as much because I usually do not go out during the time the drunkards are out. People still seem to think it is ok to smoke in or close to a bus stop though so that affects me every day. When I was pregnant, the father smoked and it affected the placenta. His drinking did not affect me or her whatsoever so I think this is why people fight harder against smoking than drinking.
I say it's because kids now are too lazy to get off their butts and get a job to afford cigarettes! Same as for why they're doing prescription drugs now instead of booze and weed - they'd rather steal prescriptions from their parents than work and pay for their high....!
This is an Action Alert to all stockholders of the tobacco industry. We have just got to dupe more children into becoming addicted to nicotine to replace the 400,000+ people who die each year of smoking-related illnesses, in order to maintain our profit line.
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