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|Cigarette smoking among adolescents is a public
health concern of utmost importance. In the U.S., experimentation with
cigarettes and the development of regular smoking typically occur during
adolescence, with 89% of adult smokers having tried their first cigarette by
18 years of age (Gilpin et al., 1999; USDHHS, 1994), and 71% of adult daily
smokers having become regular smokers by age 18 (Gilpin et al., 1999). Each
day, an estimated 3,000 additional children and adolescents become
established smokers (Gilpin et al., 1999). Because most youth who smoke at
least monthly continue to smoke in adulthood, tobacco use trends among youth
are a key indicator of the overall health trends for the U.S. (USDHHS,
During 1991–1997, the smoking prevalence (defined as one or more cigarettes in the 30 days before survey completion) among high school seniors increased to 36.5%. At that time, the prevalence was highest among whites (40.7%) and lowest among blacks (14.3%). This worrisome increasing trend highlighted a need for tobacco prevention and cessation programs focused on this age group.
In 2006, an estimated 21.6% of 12th graders (22.4% of males and 20.1% of females) had smoked one or more cigarettes in the past 30 days. Among 8th- and 10th-grade students in 2006, the overall 30-day point prevalence for cigarette smoking was 8.7% and 14.5%, respectively (Johnston et al., 2006). As can be seen in the graph, smoking among adolescents has declined over the past decade; however, the downward trend has largely diminished in recent years.
Note to instructor(s): Monitoring the Future data, publications, and press releases are available at www.monitoringthefuture.org.
Gilpin EA, Choi WS, Berry C, Pierce JP. (1999). How many adolescents start smoking each day in the United States? J Adolesc Health 25:248–255.
Johnston LD, O'Malley PM, Bachman JG, Schulenberg, JE. (2006). Decline in daily smoking by younger teens has ended. University of Michigan News and Information Services: Ann Arbor, MI. Data retrieved December 31, 2006 from http://www.monitoringthefuture.org/data/06data.html#2006data-drugs.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS). (1994). Preventing Tobacco Use Among Young People: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking Health.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2000). Healthy People 2010. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Slide is used with permission, Rx for Change: Clinician-Assisted Tobacco Cessation. Copyright © 1999-2007 The Regents of the University of California, University of Southern California, and Western University of Health Sciences. All rights reserved.