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Smoking and Youth

  • By: Robin Mermelstein, Melanie Richmond & Randi Schuster
  • In: Encyclopedia of Lifestyle Medicine & Health
  • Edited by: James M. Rippe
  • Subject:Health Psychology / Behavioral Medicine, Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States and is unfortunately common among today's youth. Despite recent declines in rates from its peak in the mid-1990s, the prevalence of adolescent smoking remains high. In 2010, the Monitoring the Future Survey, a nationally representative survey of students in the United States, found that 7.1% of 8th graders, 13.6% of 10th graders, and 19.2% of 12th graders reported having smoked in the past month. Although significantly fewer 8th graders are now experimenting with cigarettes, nearly half of adolescents have tried smoking by the 12th grade. Furthermore, nearly all adult daily smokers initiated use by the age of 18 years.

Adolescence is clearly a critical developmental period, and a thorough understanding of the factors ...

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