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Teen smoking drops to 7%

Teen cigarette smoking hit a historic low in 2015, according to data released by the annual Monitoring the Future report.


Only seven percent of teens in grades 8, 10, and 12 said they smoked a cigarette in the past 30 days

Only 7 percent of teenagers in grades 8, 10, and 12 reported smoking a cigarette in the last 30 days, the lowest recorded levels since data tracking began 41 years ago.

“While the improvements in the smoking numbers for just this one year are important, of course, the longer-term declines are much more so,” Lloyd Johnston, a University of Michigan professor and lead investigator of the study, said in a statement.

The news was not all good.

Teen tobacco consumption increased by more than half when factoring in little cigars (“cigarillos”), with 11.2 percent of teens reporting having smoked in the past 30 days. Eighty-seven percent of teens who said they smoked a cigarillo in the past 30 days used flavored versions.

And teens were more likely to use e-cigarettes than regular cigarettes, according to the study. More than half of all teens who reported using an e-cigarette said they did so out of curiosity, and 40 percent of teens who used e-cigarettes said they used them because they taste good.

A rule proposal currently under review would grant the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate cigarillos and e-cigarettes.

“The increased use of non-traditional tobacco products documented by the survey should be all the motivation the FDA needs to finish a process that started nearly two years ago,” Robin Koval, CEO and President of Truth Initiative, said.

“It is long past time for final regulations, and for next steps such as protecting youth from flavors designed to promote experimentation.”

Click here for more information on the 2015 Monitoring the Future report. 

Key takeaways


Only seven percent of teens in grades 8, 10, and 12 said they smoked a cigarette in the past 30 days, according to the 2015 Monitoring the Future study


Teen cigarette smoking reached the lowest level since researchers began tracking data 41 years ago


The prevalence of teen tobacco consumption increased by more than half when factoring in cigarillos


40 percent of teens who vaped said they did so because it tasted good