CDC: Teen Smoking Down, But Marijuana Use Up

(HealthDay News) — Although new statistics show that smoking among American teenagers has dropped 64% in recent years, the same report also shows that marijuana use has doubled. The report was published October 16 in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

The researchers tracked teen smoking rates from 1997–2013. Overall, the number of teens who smoked cigarettes or cigars dropped from 20.5% to slightly more than 7%, while marijuana use went from 4% to 10%. Notably, marijuana use increased from 51% to 62% among those teens who smoked cigarettes or cigars.

In another report in the same issue of the MMWR, researchers led by S. Rene Lavinghouze found that, across the United States, more people are trying to break the smoking habit. The number of smokers who tried to quit in the past year increased significantly in 29 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. From 2011–2013, the proportion of smokers who tried to quit increased in Hawaii and Puerto Rico but decreased in New Mexico. In 2013, the number of smokers who tried to stop ranged from 56% in Kentucky to 76% in Puerto Rico and Guam.

The researchers urge continued use of anti-smoking programs to reach the Healthy People 2020 target of 80% or more of smokers who made an attempt to quit in the past year. “These interventions include increasing the price of tobacco products, implementing comprehensive smoke-free laws, conducting educational mass media campaigns and providing insurance coverage for all effective cessation treatments, as well as access to quit-lines,” Lavinghouze and colleagues wrote.

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