Good news everyone … teen smoking reported at lowest point ever

professor farnsworth

This is such good news, I’m actually having difficulty believing it at face value. (Too good to be true syndrome…).

According to a federal study (called the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics), the rate of teen smoking has dropped dramatically from 18 percent in the 1990s to 5 percent in 2012. That’s how many high school sophomores smoked a cigarette daily in the past 30 days.

Wow, 5 percent. That teen smoking rate was stubbornly stuck at 15 to 25 percent for 10 years, long after Joe Camel was forced into retirement … mostly because the tobacco industry was still finding subtle ways to market cigarettes to kids, and mostly because Hollywood stubbornly continued to show smoking in a “cool” light.


Numbers have also dropped for high school seniors and 8th graders.

“According to the report, 2 percent of 8th-graders, and 9 percent of high school seniors said they smoked daily in 2012. Compare that data to the survey’s peak smoking years in the mid-1990s, when those numbers were 10 percent for 8th graders, 18 percent for high school sophomores and 25 percent for high school seniors.”

This has really been my No. 1 priority personally over the last 10 years I’ve been into this issue … somehow finding a way to get fewer kids to start up smoking. Just telling them it’s bad for them doesn’t do it.

Not sure why those numbers are so dramatic, but I would give some credit to cigarette taxes and the cost of cigarettes going way up in the last 20 years. $6 for a pack in most places, compared to about $3 a pack 20 years ago. I also think less smoking in movies plays a role (no pun intended.).

The other good news, and a bit more scientific (this first study was based on surveys among kids, which has its merits), is that fewer kids are being exposed to secondhand smoke.

LA Times:

The percentage of nonsmoking kids ages 4 to 11 whose blood had a detectable level of cotinine, a breakdown product of nicotine, fell from 53% to 42% from 2007-08 to 2009-10.”

That’s the result of fewer people smoking overall and more smoking bans.

7 thoughts on “Good news everyone … teen smoking reported at lowest point ever”

  1. ‘Tis good news. I may get defensive as a albeit guilty smoker, but trust me, pontificating didn’t work on me in the 90’s – a peak! – huh. i might add this, too. They used to – and I can’t believe this now – have cigarettes in the checkout aisles, not behind the counter or locked up. I stole quite a few packs before I was of age and got hooked. I wonder how much of that was calculated, now.



      You mean that doesn’t work…?

      You bet that was by design, Khirad, to have cigs by the checkout counter, mostly for impulse buys more than anything. This is why “Power walls” have been banned in Canada … they are a low-level form of advertising.

      The industry doesn’t do nothing without a reason.

      Thanks for commenting! Smiley

  2. Expense is a major factor…at the convenient store today an older lady bought two cartons of some brand I had never heard of and spent 83 dollars…judging by her car and clothes that money surley could have been spent on something more useful that twenty packs of butts. BTW, she spent her change on lottery tickets. Good luck with that toots.

    1. Hi, Steve.

      That’s why so many people stock up on cigarettes from Indian reservations, they save $10 to $15 a carton.

      Steve, about the cost of cigarettes. True story. I’ve sat down with a pen and a calculator and figured out that at one point a few years ago, my mom was spending up to $6,000 a year on cigarettes in Canada. $6,000 a year ($9 a pack, two packs a day $18×365) That was pretty shocking to me. $6,000 year to poison yourself.

  3. What this article misses is that teens are now abusing things much worse than cigarettes. Alcohol and prescription drugs. The rate of dangerous binge drinking which can kill you in one sitting has drastically gone up. Whereas it takes long term dedication to die from cigarettes – pack a day every day for 30+ years. Which is more dangerous? If you drank a six pack of coke every day for a year, you’d be more sick than from two packs of cigarettes a day for a year. The coke will give you diabetes and obesity pretty quickly. Look at the teen obesity rates over the last 20 years. We keep putting soda machines in schools.

    1. Thanks for commenting.

      Honestly, I don’t see the causality here. Kids didn’t start suddenly abusing drugs and alcohol … that’s not new and honestly, in my opinion has little to do with cigarettes (In fact, if you want to talk gateway drugs, cigarettes are the “ultimate gateway drug” for kids. Surveys have shown that kids that abuse drugs and alcohol first smoked cigarettes before moving on to harder things, but I’m not going to dwell on that.)

      So kids are not suddenly drinking more because they’re not smoking as much. Again, no causality.

      Anyway, there’s nothing in this article suggesting drug abuse is growing among kids. In fact, many surveys show drug use among kids has been dropping for years — check this article. Use of hard drugs — cocaine, Ecstacy and huffing is way down (as is alcohol use down overall over the past 20 years) The only drug that’s up is marijuana and that’s largely because attitudes about marijuana have changed over the past 20 years.

      Obesity is a problem, too, but again, that has nothing to do with teen smoking. There’s no causality, no cause and effect at play here.

      So, we can all agree that teen smoking going down is a good thing … right? Not sure why anyone would try to somehow put a negative spin on this.

Comments are closed.