Teen Smoking Statistics

Many kids first try tobacco by age 11. This article talks about how gender and race affect teen smoking statistics and takes a look at what some of the alternative forms of smoking devices teens are using and how they affect teenage health.

Teen smoking is a very real issue today. Even though the teen smoking statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report that teen smoking is down from the 1990s, the rate of smoking amongst teens has remained fairly steady since 2002. Indeed, with smoking coming back into vogue in the movies, and with alternative types of teen smoking, it is unlikely that teen smoking statistics will drop off dramatically anytime soon.

Teen smoking statistics - Gender and race

When it comes to cigarettes, gender does not play a significant role in teen smoking. About 28 percent of high school students report using some kind of tobacco (including smokeless tobacco). 23 percent of all high school students reported smoking cigarettes - the number roughly equivalent between boys and girls.

When it comes to teen smoking statistics and teen cigar use, though, the numbers change to reflect gender differences. 19 percent of male students report using cigars, while only 9 percent of female students do. Smokeless tobacco (spit) also shows some gender differences. Spit is more popular amongst teen boys (14 percent) than it is amongst teen girls (2 percent).

Interestingly, teen smoking stats indicate that, white students (25 percent) are more likely to smoke than black students (11 percent). Hispanic/Latino students were the second most likely group to smoke (22 percent), and Asians had the same rate as black high school students.

Teen Smoking Statistics - Alternatives

There are different alternatives to teen smoking with cigarettes. These different forms are much less popular than cigarettes, but they are gaining in use. One of the reasons that they are gaining in popularity is because there is misinformation that kreteks, bidis and hookahs are less dangerous to one’s health than cigarettes. This just isn’t true. But the persistent rumors are having an effect:

  • 2 percent of high school students smoke kreteks (also known as clove cigarettes).
  • 3 percent of high school students smoke bidis (flavored cigarettes).
  • 3 percent of high schools students use a hookah, or some other pipe in teen smoking.

It is important to note that many of these “alternatives” to regular cigarettes actually have higher amounts of some toxins, and can be more dangerous to ones health. Some information about the health effects of alternative teen smoking methods:

  • Kreteks can result in 20 times the risk of abnormal lung function when compared with non-smokers.
  • Bidis require three times as many puffs as regular cigarettes because of how thin they are. They also increase the chance of some cancers, chronic bronchitis and heart attack as compared to non-smokers.
  • Hookah teen smoking can increase the chance of aspergillus (a lung disease), tuberculosis and helicobacter (which is a cause of ulcers in the stomach) due to the fact that the hookah is shared around.

According to teen smoking statistics, many teenagers start using tobacco by the age of 14. It is important to start talking with your kids about smoking well before the age of 10, since many have their first experience with tobacco by age 11. Experts recommend that you start warning your kids about the dangers of tobacco by the age of five or six.

Related Article: Overview of Teenage Smoking >>