ATLANTA, July 8 (UPI) — Despite declines in U.S. teen smoking in the late 1990s, teen smoking declines stalled from 2003 to 2009, federal health officials found.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report released Thursday said since 2003, the rate of smoking decline in U.S. teens leveled off for whites, Hispanics and blacks — except for black female students, for whom cigarette smoking has shown no decline after 1999.
The report also said in 1991, students who reported cigarette smoking was 27.5 percent, rose to 36.4 percent in 1997, dropped to 21.9 percent in 2003 and leveled off at 19.5 percent in 2009.
However, fewer U.S. high-school students are trying smoking. Student who said they had tried smoking in 1999 declined from 70.4 percent to 58.4 percent in 2003, and then declined more gradually to 46.3 percent in 2009, the report said.
“Although 4 of 5 don’t smoke, it’s discouraging to see that current smoking did not continue to decline more rapidly among youth,” Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the CDC, said in a statement.
“Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in this country and 9 out of 10 adults started smoking in their teens or earlier. The slow progress since 2003 tells us that much more needs to be done to reduce youth smoking.”
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