Cigarette smoking rates among high school students have dropped to the lowest levels since the National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) began in 1991, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
By achieving a teen smoking rate of 15.7 percent, the United States has met its national Healthy People 2020 objective of reducing adolescent cigarette use to 16 percent or less.
However, despite this success, reducing overall tobacco usage still remains a challenge.
Tobacco usage is not limited to cigarettes, as the federal agency has seen an increase in cigars, hookah and e-cigarette use, which are harmful to the body.
“It’s encouraging that high school students are making better health choices such as not fighting, not smoking and not having sex,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H, in a press release. “Too many young people still smoke and other areas such as texting while driving remain a challenge. Our youth are our future. We need to invest in programs that help them make healthy choices so they live long, healthy lives.”
Data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey is a helpful took for understanding how health risk behaviors among youth vary across the nation and over time, according to the CDC. Information gathered from the survey can be used to help schools, communities, families and even students lead a better life by cutting out risky behaviors.
By identifying risky behaviors and swapping them for healthy ones early on, Americans can secure a healthier, longer life with fewer health complications. They will also be able to qualify for lower life and health insurance rates when they are older. A risky behavior like tobacco use is one of the deadliest yet easiest to control behavior that an individual could partake in.