3/19/2014 - Youth smoking rate plummets in 2013
The nation's youth took a giant leap toward maintaining their health in 2013, as newly released survey data indicates that fewer of them started smoking cigarettes.
In recognition of National Kick Butts Day, it's important to acknowledge that for the third straight year, smoking among the nation's young people fell, according to the government's annual "Monitoring the Future" poll. For eighth, tenth and 12th graders, the number of students who began the unhealthy habit dropped from just over 10.5% in 2012 to approximately 9.6% this past year. For each specific grade, the most precipitous decline was observed in sophomores, dropping nearly two full percentage points to 9.1%.
Susan M. Liss, executive director for the public health awareness organization Campaign for Tobacco Free-Kids, indicated that impressionable young minds are clearly getting the message about the dangers that result from the practice.
"These results are powerful evidence that we know how to win the fight against tobacco by implementing scientifically proven strategies," said Liss. "These include higher tobacco taxes, well-funded tobacco prevention and cessation programs that include mass media campaigns, strong smoke-free laws, and effective regulation of tobacco products and marketing."
Not only is smoking linked to a substantial number of health hazards, but cigarette use is also a peril from a standpoint of property damage. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, numerous homeowners insurance claims are filed each year due to fires that start in a residence from cigarette ashes. An estimated 1,000 smokers and non-smokers are killed each year from these and other smoking materials.