By Jackie Burrell
Tuesday, December 16th, 2008 at 1:22 pm in Health & Safety.
Teen smoking rates dropped significantly this year, and if the teen commentary gathered in the most recent Monitoring the Future study is any indication, the number of teen smokers may be dropping even further. The study, conducted by University of Michigan researchers who survey 45,000 adolescents each year, found that:
Just 12.6 percent of high schoolers said they’d smoked in the last month – down a full point since 2007 and the lowest rate since the early ’90s.
Just 12 percent of high school sophomores are smokers now, compared with 30.4 percent in 1996, when teen smoking rates peaked.
And only 7 percent of today’s eighth graders are smokers. It was triple that in 1996.
It gets better: Despite the best efforts of Madison Avenue’s ad men, who have tried to equate smoking with being cool, the vast majority of teens said they wouldn’t date a smoker and two thirds said choosing to smoke reflected “poor judgment.” More than 70 percent called smoking a “dirty habit.”
“For years and years, the industry pitch was that smoking makes you sexy and attractive to the opposite sex,” lead researcher Lloyd Johnston told the New York Times. “It turns out the absolute opposite is true.”