Youth Tobacco Prevention

Studies show that less than 1 in 5 high school students currently smokes cigarettes. This rate has been steadily decreasing, yet the majority of adults who begin smoking start before their 18th birthday.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Lung Association, and American Cancer Society, risk factors for youth tobacco use include:

  • Prevalence. Each day nearly 4,000 kids try smoking for the first time. Of these, about 1,000 will become new daily cigarette smokers.
  • Social factors. Youth are more likely to use tobacco if their peers use tobacco and perceive smoking as acceptable. Parents who smoke may also promote smoking in their children.
  • Genetic and biological factors. Evidence shows that youth may be sensitive to nicotine and become dependent sooner than adults do. Genetic factors also can make it more difficult for some people to stop smoking.

Tobacco use during adolescence is associated with other health risks, including high-risk sexual behavior, alcohol use, and use of marijuana and other drugs.