U.S. teen smoking rates decline

Nov. 15, 2012 at 6:17 PM

ROCKVILLE, Md., Nov. 15 (UPI) -- From 2002 to 2010, smoking by U.S. 12- to 17-year-olds fell from 12.6 percent to 8.7 percent in 41 states, federal health officials said.

A report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found Wyoming had the nation's highest rate of 13.5 percent -- more than double the rate of 5.9 percent for Utah, the state with the nation's lowest rate. The study defined current use as smoking in the past month.

SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde said the youths' perception of great risk of harm from smoking one pack per day or more rose from 63.7 percent to 65.4 percent overall. However, the rate increased in only five states; the remaining states stayed at about the same level.

"The Surgeon General's Report on Preventing Tobacco Use among Youth and Young Adults notes that smoking is the nation's leading cause of preventable death," Hyde said in a statement. "Although this report showed considerable progress has been made in lowering adolescent cigarette smoking, the sad, unacceptable fact remains that in many states about 1-in-10 adolescents smoked cigarettes in the past month."

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