Tobacco use among American middle school and high school students showed a slow decline from 2000 to 2011, according to a report from the .
But when compared with other long-term studies, the steep rate of decline from 1997 to 2003 has slowed noticeably.
The report published this week shows that in 2011, nearly 30 percent of high school males and 18 percent of high school females used some form of tobacco.
More than 8 percent of middle school males and nearly 6 percent of middle school females used some form of tobacco in 2011.
“An overall decline in tobacco use is good news, but although 4 out of 5 teens don't smoke, far too many kids start to smoke every day,” said CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden. “Most tobacco use begins and becomes established during adolescence. This report is further evidence that we need to do more to prevent our nation’s youth from establishing a deadly addiction to tobacco.”
To further reduce tobacco use among young people, the 2012 Surgeon General’s Report recommends making tobacco products less affordable and running hard-hitting mass media campaigns. Other suggestions include prevention programs that could work in connection with new restrictions on the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products.
Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States. Cigarette use and exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke kill an estimated 443,000 Americans each year.
-The Office of Communication at the CDC contributed to this report
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