U.S. high schools: 1-of-5 students smoke

Aug. 9, 2012 at 8:15 PM
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ATLANTA, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- In 2011, nearly 30 percent of U.S. high-school males and 18 percent of high-school females used some form of tobacco, federal health officials said.

The report, published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, also said tobacco use among U.S. middle school and high-school students showed a slow decline from 2000 to 2011.

Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the CDC, said even though tobacco use continued an 11-year downward trend, smoking remained high among high-school students.

For example, among black high-school students, cigar use increased significantly from 7.1 percent in 2009 to 11.7 percent in 2011. In 2011, 15.7 percent of high school boys smoked cigars -- including cigarette-like cigars that can be packaged and smoked like typical cigarettes, but are taxed at a lower rate -- comparable to the 17.7 percent who smoked cigarettes.

"An overall decline in tobacco use is good news, but although 4-out-of-5 teens don't smoke, far too many kids start to smoke every day," Frieden said in a statement. "Most tobacco use begins and becomes established during adolescence."

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