ATLANTA, Aug. 26 (UPI) -- The rates of decline in smoking and experimenting with smoking have stalled among U.S. middle and high school students, federal health officials say.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, released Thursday, says an analysis of the National Youth Tobacco Survey from 2000 to 2009 finds teen cigarette smoking rates among high school students who say they have smoked in the past 30 days declined from 28 percent to 17.2 percent, and among middle-school students it dropped from 11 percent to 5.2 percent for the same time period.
However, from 2006 to 2009, the survey found that smoking rates declined from 19.8 percent to 17.2 percent among high school students and from 6.3 percent to 5.2 percent among middle school students, but these overall declines were not statistically significant, the report says.
CDC officials say further smoking reduction involves restrictions on advertising, promotion and availability of tobacco products to youth as well as restricting smoking in public places and tobacco product price increases, which often puts smoking out of reach of teenagers.
Eighty percent of U.S. adult smokers begin before the age of 18, the report says.