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NAQC Newsroom: Research

Cigarette Use Among High School Students --- United States, 1991—2009

Monday, July 26, 2010  
Cigarette Use Among High School Students --- United States, 1991—2009
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. MMWR Weekly. July 9, 2010 / 59(26);797-801. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5926a1.htm?s_cid=mm5926a1_e

This report describes results of CDC's 2010 analysis of the national Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) data from 1991--2009 for three measures among high school students in the United States: ever smoked cigarettes, current cigarette use, and current frequent cigarette use. The findings in this report show that for three measures of cigarette use (ever smoked cigarettes, current cigarette use, and current frequent cigarette use), rates among high school students began to decline in the late 1990s, but the rate of decline slowed during 2003--2009.

These trends are consistent with trends for 30-day and daily cigarette use reported from the Monitoring the Future survey (an ongoing national study of the behaviors, attitudes, and values of 8th-, 10th- , and 12th-grade students), which also showed declines starting in the late 1990s but gradual declines most recently. As a result of the slow declines in youth smoking described in this report, the Healthy People 2010 national health objective to reduce the prevalence of current cigarette use among high school students to ≤16%§ has not been met. The authors conclude that to increase the rate of decline in cigarette use among high school students, reductions in advertising, promotions, and commercial availability of tobacco products should be combined with full implementation of communitywide, comprehensive tobacco control programs.

The findings in this report also show that since 2003 the rate of decline in current cigarette use slowed or leveled off for all racial/ethnic and sex subgroups except black female students, for which no slowing or leveling off occurred in the rate of decline after 1999. The authors recommend that more detailed research is needed to explain why current cigarette use during 2003--2009 declined more slowly among some racial/ethnic and sex subgroups of high school students but remained stable among others.

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