October 23, 2018

Cigarette Use Drops Among Youth and Young Adults 

Percentage of young people reporting cigarette use in the past month

Ready for some good news? In the last decade, cigarette smoking rates have fallen for both youth and young adults.

The likelihood of recent cigarette use among youth between the ages of 12 and 17 fell from 11% in 2005–06 to just 4% in 2015–16. This same statistic also dropped for young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 — from 39% in 2005–06 to 25% in 2015–16.

Across the country, cigarette smoking rates among youth dipped to a low of 3% in 14 states and peaked at 8% in West Virginia. State rates for young adults run from a low of 19% in California and Utah to a high of 36% in Kentucky, Vermont and West Virginia. Despite the rates moving in the right direction, there’s still room for improvement.

In 2015–16, 947,000 youth and 8.7 million young adults across the country reported smoking a cigarette within the last month. Also worth noting: The rate of young adults using marijuana is on the rise, jumping from 16% to 20% in the last decade.

Explore more national and state health data in the KIDS COUNT Data Center