Missouris Kids are Lighting Up
Nearly ½ of all Missouris high school seniors report current use of cigarettes and 41% reported smoking 2 or more cigarettes per day. Missouri had the 2nd highest teen smoking rate in the nation in 1995 and the 5th highest in 1997, with the 1997 rate showing an increase of 20%! In Missouri, the largest increases have occurred among females along with a 60% increase among Missouri high school seniors since 1991.
According to the Surgeon General, almost 90% of adults who are regular smokers began on or before the age of 18. The Center for Disease Control reports Missouri ranks second only to Kentucky in the number of adult smokers. Smoking contributed to 10,930 deaths in Missouri in 1997 and cost Missourians approximately $2.6 billion annually in loss of productivity and health-care expenses. Adolescent tobacco use could be looked at as dying to grow up.
Source: Toward Missouris future-adolescent tobacco use: dying to grow up? (1999, July). Step by Step , 10(3), 1.
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