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New Survey Shows U.S. Youth Smoking Rates Fell To Record Lows In 2013

Results Show We Know How to Win the Fight Against Tobacco

WASHINGTON, Dec. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement of Susan M. Liss, Executive Director, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids:

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20080918/CFTFKLOGO)

In great news for the nation's health, the government's annual Monitoring the Future survey released today shows that overall youth smoking declined significantly in 2013, and smoking rates fell to record lows for all three grades surveyed (grades 8, 10 and 12).  This is the third year in a row that this survey has found a significant annual decline in youth smoking, which is highly encouraging after several years in which progress had nearly stalled.

For all three grades combined, the percentage of students who reported smoking cigarettes in the past month fell from 10.6 percent in 2012 to 9.6 percent in 2013.  Smoking declined from 17.1 to 16.3 percent among 12 th graders, from 10.8 to 9.1 percent among 10 th graders and from 4.9 to 4.5 percent among 8 th graders.  The declines were statistically significantly for 10 th graders and for all three grades combined.

Longer-term declines are dramatic.  Since peaking in the mid-1990s, smoking rates have fallen by 79 percent among 8 th graders, 70 percent among 10 th graders and 55 percent among 12 th graders.

These results are powerful evidence that we know how to win the fight against tobacco by implementing scientifically proven strategies.  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.

As the nation nears the 50 th anniversary of the first Surgeon General's report on smoking and health, which was released on January 11, 1964, it is time for a national commitment to fully implement these solutions and win the fight against tobacco once and for all.

Despite our enormous progress, tobacco remains the number one cause of preventable death in the United States.  Tobacco still kills more than 400,000 people and costs the nation nearly $100 billion in health care bills each year.  Too many of our children still smoke, putting them on a path that often ends in debilitating diseases and premature death.  The tobacco industry still spends $8.8 billion a year – $1 million every hour – to market its deadly and addictive products, and it is constantly pushing new products that tempt our kids, including sweet, cheap little cigars and electronic cigarettes that are being marketed using the same slick tactics long used to market regular cigarettes to kids.

By fully implementing what we know works, we can accelerate declines in tobacco use and ultimately eliminate the death and disease it causes.  Winning the fight against tobacco will require bold action by the federal government and the states:

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