Cigarette Use Among New York State High School Students Declining

Fewer Teen Smokers Translates into Less Adult Addiction

ALBANY, NY (06/26/2008)(readMedia)-- The American Lung Association of New York today welcomed news of declining smoking rates among high school students. According to new data released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking rates decreased for teens across New York State.

"In New York State, smoking rates among high school students declined from 16.2 percent in 2005, down to 13.8 percent in 2007," said Michael Seilback, Senior Director of Public Policy and Advocacy. "Over 90 percent of smokers start the deadly addiction before the age of 18, so fewer teen smokers means fewer adults caught in nicotine's grasp."

In New York City, the smoking rates for 2007 were even lower with only 8.5 percent of high school students smoking - down from 11.2 percent in 2005.

Nationwide in 2007, smoking prevalence for youth was 20 percent, with overall smoking prevalence higher among male (21.3 percent) than female (18.7 percent) youth. More white youth smoked (23.2 percent) than Hispanic (16.7 percent) and African-American (11.6 percent) youth.

"The declining rates here in New York show that the state's aggressive programs are effective in preventing youth from using tobacco products," added Seilback.

On June 3, New York State became the national public health leader in tobacco taxation when it raised the tobacco excise tax to $2.75 - the highest in the nation. This increase will eventually save the lives of over 77,000 youth who will be prevented from becoming smokers, and save more then 37,000 adult New Yorkers from a tobacco-caused death by helping them quit.

Legislation is currently awaiting signature by Governor Paterson which will prohibit smoking in dormitories and other group residential facilities of public and private colleges and universities in New York. Once signed into law, this measure will extend smokefree living conditions to students in private colleges and universities.

Tobacco companies spend over $800 million in New York State each year to advertise and market their products. The tobacco industry has come forward with a new wave of products, such as candy-flavored cigarettes, that appear to continue targeting children and teens. For this reason, the Lung Association supports measures to make smoking expensive and inconvenient with the ultimate goal of saving lives.

Today's data comes from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS), an epidemiological surveillance system established by the CDC that monitors the prevalence of priority high-risk behaviors that contribute to leading causes of death, disability, and social problems among youth and young adults. The YRBSS provides comparable national, state, and local data as well as data among subgroups of youth. This national school-based survey is administered every 2 years in odd-numbered years to students in grades 9-12.

The YRBSS monitors tobacco use trends among the nation's youth. The survey collects data on current tobacco use, lifetime cigarette use, current cigarette use, quit attempts, current smokeless tobacco use, current cigar use, and youth access to cigarettes. Smoking prevalence among youth is determined by current cigarette use, which is defined as smoking cigarettes on at least 1 day during the past 30 days.

To view the CDC report, go to: