US Teen Smoking Rates Have Plummeted, With Fewer Than 1% Now Daily Smokers

The following is excerpted from an online article posted by MedicalXpress.

The number of American teens who smoke or have even tried smoking has dropped dramatically compared to a generation ago, with less than 1% now saying they light up cigarettes daily.

Researchers tracked data on students in grades 9 through 12 from 1991 through to 2021. They report a 16-fold decline in daily cigarette use—from 9.8% of teens saying they smoked daily in 1991 to just 0.6% by 2021.

Even trying smoking is clearly unpopular now: Whereas about 70% of teens surveyed in 1991 said they had “ever” smoked, that number fell to less than 18% by 2021, a fourfold decline.

“The substantial decrease in cigarette use among U.S. adolescents spanning three decades is an encouraging public health achievement,” said senior study author Panagiota Kitsantas of Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.

Other findings from the study:

  • “Frequent” smoking (on at least 20 days of the prior month) fell from 12.7% of teens in 1991 to 0.7% 30 years later.
  • “Occasional” (at least 1 cigarette over the past month) smoking dropped from 27% of teens to 3.8% by 2021, a sevenfold decline.
  • 12th graders were more likely to say they occasionally smoked versus kids in grades 9 through 11. That suggests that older teens may be more likely to at least experiment with smoking, the researchers said.

The study was published online in the winter 2023 issue of the Ochsner Journal.

Source: MedicalXpress

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[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on and Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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