Despite what you might believe, American teens are not smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol at nearly the rates their parents did – in fact, today’s youth are abstaining more often than any time since surveys began in 1975.
On top of that, 40 percent fewer teens are participating in extreme binge drinking compared to ten years ago —10.6% of teens in 2005 down to just 6.1% this year.
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The University of Michigan’s annual “Monitoring the Future” study has been one of the most extensive annual surveys of teen drinking, smoking, and drug use for 40 years. It questions 40,000 eighth, tenth, and twelfth grade students every year from 400 public and private schools around the U.S.
Some of the highlights from the 2015 survey include the fact that the percentage of kids who’d had an alcoholic drink in the past year fell to 40%, and in the 30 days before being surveyed, the number was just 22%. Those are the lowest numbers in the survey’s four decade history.
Tobacco use was also down, with three-quarters of young people perceiving it to be a health risk.
Only 7% of teens surveyed said they had smoked in the previous 30 days — a statistically significant improvement over the 8% from a year earlier.
More important, researchers say, is the number of teens who’ve never started smoking.
At the high point of teen smoking numbers, 49% of eighth graders said they’d smoked a cigarette in 1996. Nineteen years later, that number has fallen to just 13% — again, the lowest number ever recorded.
Monitoring the Future also shows a decline from recent years in the use of several illicit drugs—including heroin, amphetamine, MDMA (also called ecstasy or Molly), and synthetic marijuana.
Actually, teen heroin use has been in decline since 2009, points out WWJ News, while other narcotics declined in parallel, indicating no evidence of switching from one to the other.
(Photo: Hepingting, CC; Tim Simpson, CC) Don’t Bogart This News… Share it!