Youths are choosing health studies show. Cigarette smoking among high school students in the United States has reached a record low in a survey health officials have been conducting every two years since 1991.
Just 15.7% of teens were current smokers in 2013 down from 27.5% when the survey began and 36% in the peak year of 1997. These numbers are being reported by the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This means that the nation has already met the government’s official goal of getting teen smoking below 16% by 2020. It is good to know that our official government has plans in the future besides raising taxes on everything.
We can’t make our kids do anything. Can it be that our teens are actually choosing health? Other good things were found in these surveys too. Other gains in healthy behaviors were picked up in the Youth Risk Behavior Study of more than 13,000 teens. Data for the report also came from state and local versions of the survey conducted by public and private high schools.
The data show teens are drinking less alcohol and fewer sodas, getting into fewer physical fights and having less sex with more birth control. Despite the highly publicized recent news about school shootings, the share of students threatened or injured with a gun, knife or other weapon on school property has dropped to 6.9% from a peak of 9.2% in 2003.
Don’t rest that easy yet because it is not all good news. Condom use among the sexually active which is about 1/3 of teens, is down to 59%, from a peak of 63% in 2003. We all know that condoms are essential to protect against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Some kids get them free in school and choose to use them for water balloons. Well at least they aren’t having sex yet.
The news on tobacco use is mixed. A once rapid decline in cigar use has slowed leaving cigars as popular as cigarettes with high school boys. The sales of Blunts is up which is commonly used to put pot in to smoke. “The fight against tobacco isn’t over when you still have 2.7 million high school kids who smoke.” Says Vince Willmore of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids in Washington, D.C.
You might be interested in other changing habits found from the CDC survey. 25% of students were in a physical fight in the year before the survey down from 42% in 1991.
32% watched 3 hours of TV daily down from 43% in 1999. Some of that time switched to computers with 41% using a computer for non-school reasons at least 3 hours a day up from 22% in 2003.
27% had at least one soda per day down from 34% in 2007.
41% of those who drove a car admitted to texting while driving in 2011.
2.3% had ever used heroin which is a rate that has stayed the same in some large urban schools where usage was up.
You can take all the numbers you want but we still have to take personal care with our kids because information is just not enough. They need more help from their parents and other caring people to personally ask kids what they are doing and then maybe the 76 school shootings in the past year might be reduced.