Youth Tobacco Trends Show Decline
Fewer adolescents are smoking. In fact, according to new data from SAMHSA, fewer of them are using all tobacco products.
Trends in Tobacco Use among Adolescents: 2002 to 2008 reports that the decline in past-month tobacco use can be attributed primarily to a decline in past month cigarette use—the most frequently used tobacco product—with 13.0 percent of adolescents age 12 to 17 using cigarettes in 2002 compared with 9.1 percent in 2008.
SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found that adolescents’ use of tobacco products overall declined between 2002 and 2008 (from 15.2 to 11.4 percent). However, the rate of recent initiation of cigarette use remained stable. See chart for details.
The survey questions about tobacco use focused on cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, and chewing tobacco and snuff, with special emphasis on the use of cigarettes.
Download Trends in Tobacco Use among Adolescents: 2002 to 2008.
Source: SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies (October 15, 2009). The NSDUH Report: Trends in Tobacco Using among Adolescents: 2002 to 2008.
Figure 1: Past-Month Tobacco Use among Youth Age 12 to 17: 2002 to 2008. Rockville, MD.
Among past-month smokers, the percentage smoking menthol cigarettes increased from 2004 (31.0 percent) to 2008 (33.9 percent).
Use of Menthol Cigarettes, a recent short report from SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), reported that increases in menthol cigarette use among current smokers were most pronounced for adolescents age 12 to 17 (43.5 percent in 2004 versus 47.7 percent in 2008), young adults age 18 to 25 (34.1 versus 40.8 percent), and males (26.9 versus 30.8 percent).
Menthol is an additive to cigarettes that stimulates cold receptors, giving the sensation of coolness in the mouth, pharynx, and lungs. Menthol may mask the harshness of cigarette smoke.
According to the report, past-month smoking of menthol cigarettes was more likely among those who were recent smoking initiates (i.e., began smoking in the past year) than among those who were longer term smokers (i.e., initiated use more than a year ago) (44.6 versus 31.8 percent, respectively).
Combined 2004 to 2008 data indicate that nearly one-third (32.0 percent) of past-month smokers aged 12 or older smoked menthol cigarettes in the past month. The prevalence of menthol cigarette use among past-month smokers decreased with age (44.8 percent among smokers age 12 to 17, 36.5 percent among those age 18 to 25, and 30.1 percent among those age 26 or older).
Find out more by downloading Use of Menthol Cigarettes.