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Fewer Teens and Young Adults Smoking

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Fewer teenagers and young adults in the United States are smoking, a new government report finds. The drop can be attributed to several causes, including an increase in cigarette taxes, Bloomberg reports.

Daily smoking among teens and young adults fell to 15.8 percent in 2010, down from 20.4 percent in 2004, according to the report, which is based on data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Among teens ages 12 to 17, daily smoking dropped from 3.3 percent to 2 percent.

Higher cigarette taxes, school health education programs that target cigarette use, antismoking campaigns, and increased enforcement of laws prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to minors, all have contributed to the decrease, the report notes.

The average state excise tax on cigarettes was $1.46 a pack last year, up from $1.34 in 2009, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. New York, with an excise tax of $4.35, is the only state with a tax above $4.

“Although some progress has been made in curbing youth smoking, the fact remains that one in 12 adolescents currently smoke and one in three young adults smoke, which means that far too many young people are still endangering their lives,” SAMHSA Administrator Pamela Hyde said in a statement.

Young adults who said they used cigarettes in the past month, either daily or less frequently, decreased to 34.2 percent in 2010, from 39.5 percent in 2004. Among teens, the rate dropped to 8.3 percent, from 11.9 percent.

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