According to a report released by the CDC on June 12, only 15.7% of American high school students reported smoking at least one cigarette in the last 30 days. Why is that a big deal? It’s the lowest rate since the first National Youth Risk Behavior Survey was published in 1991, when teenagers reported the same experience at a 23.8% rate.
The new survey data also marks the first time the U.S. has met the government’s Healthy People 2020 objective of reducing cigarette use to below 16% of teenagers.
While the report shows growth around other tobacco use (hookahs, electronic cigarettes, etc.), the decline of cigarette usage underlines the impact Kick Butts Day and other tobacco awareness campaigns can have on our youth when properly promoted and supported throughout our schools and communities.
The importance of communicating with adolescents about the dangers of smoking cannot be overstated. A 2014 U.S. Surgeon General’s report stated that nearly 9 out of 10 smokers started smoking by age 18.
How is your practice communicating about this topic with patients? What other important wellness and preventive messages could you be delivering to help patients take a more proactive approach to their care? Click here to access the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’s list of National Health Observances – a helpful resource in finding opportunities you have to align your patient communication with national wellness initiatives.