Sometimes, it seems like the ever eye-rolling teens never listen, but a new government-issued report found a lot of kids in the United States are hearing health messages loud and clear.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, the rates of smoking among high school students has hit at an all-time low, with roughly one in 10 high schoolers using cigarettes in 2017. That number has significantly dropped from more than one in four in 1991.
However, we live in the era of e-cigarettes, so their use has gone up. Major health problems are still posed by sedentary lifestyles and distracted driving.
Back on the good-news front is also the statistic showing that premarital sex is down, as well as illegal use of prescription drugs and soda consumption. For the survey, named “The National Youth Risk and Behavior Survey,” the researchers interviewed more than 15,000 high school students.
Patricia Folan, who heads the Center for Tobacco Control at Northwell Health, in Great Neck, N.Y., explained that several factors have brought the decline in smoking, such as “environmental tobacco bans, increased taxes on cigarettes, anti-tobacco media campaigns, as well as the removal of point-of-sale tobacco advertising from stores.”
But among the teen smokers, some are replacing traditional cigarettes with electronic ones. Roughly 45 percent of high school students have tried an e-cigarette at least once in their life while one in four said they’d used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days.
Some experts argue e-cigarettes are “products intended to appeal to children with their candy flavoring, such as bubble gum, grape and thousands of other sweetened flavors,” so it makes sense that vaping is more popular among teens than adults.
In addition to smoking, another bad habit has gone down among teens. From 2013 to 2015, the number of high school students who drank a soda one or more times a day decreased from 27 percent to 20 percent, according to the CDC report.
Adolescents are also less likely to become sexually active; compared to 1991, when 38 percent of teens said they were sexually active, in 2017, that figure dropped to 30 percent of teens.
While the overall trends for 2015 are positive, “the results highlight the continued need for improvements in reducing risks among teens,” according to Laura Kann, chief of the CDC’s School-Based Surveillance Branch.
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