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Teen smoking slowly on the decline, study findsPosted On Mon, July 12, 2010
Smoking among high school students is still on the decline, but appears to have reached a plateau.
Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows just over 36 percent of students smoked in 1997, before tumbling to 21.9 percent in 2003. Last year's numbers moved downward slightly to 19.5 percent.
While the decline marks a positive trend in teen smoking, CDC director Thomas Frieden says that it's unfortunate levels didn't decline more drastically.
"Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in this country and nine out of 10 adults started smoking in their teens or earlier. The slow progress since 2003 tells us that much more needs to be done to reduce youth smoking."
Teens who pick up smoking and continue the habit into adulthood are increasing their risk for many diseases with high death rates.
The National Cancer Institute says that roughly 30 percent of cancer deaths can be attributed to smoking. Cigarette smoking has been tied to lung, mouth, pancreas and kidney cancer. Given the high mortality rate of smokers, people who engage in the habit may end up having more expensive health and life insurance premiums.
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