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Smoking Rate in Teens Declines to New Low

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Smoking rates among teens are the lowest they have been since the U.S. government began keeping track, according to a new report. Just 5 percent of high school sophomores said they smoked cigarettes every day in the previous month, compared with 18 percent at one point in the 1990s.

The survey also found record-low smoking rates for eighth graders and high school seniors, the Los Angeles Times reports. The findings come from the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, which is releasing a new report on the well-being of American children.

American children are less likely than in previous years to be exposed to secondhand smoke, according to the report.

Danny McGoldrick, Vice President for Research for the advocacy group Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, told the newspaper that tobacco taxes, laws limiting where people can smoke and smoking prevention programs, have contributed to the decline in teen smoking rates. He noted the reduction in teen smoking rates has slowed recently. “We need to invest in more of what has worked in the past to accelerate these declines,” he said.

Binge drinking among high school seniors is on the rise, the report found. In 2012, almost one-quarter of high school seniors said they engaged in binge drinking in the previous two weeks, a slight increase from the previous year.

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