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Young People Abandoning Smoking

Gallup reports that smoking is down to historic lows, down 2% from last year, and tied with 2009 at the lowest rate since 1944. The best part? The most profound change is among young people:

Since the start of the 2000s, smoking has fallen nine percentage points among 18- to 29-year-olds — from 34% in 2001-2005 to 25% in 2011-2012. It has declined five points among those 30 to 49, while dipping only slightly among those 50 to 64 and staying about the same among those 65 and older.

As a result of these changes, young adults are now about as likely to smoke as are those aged 30 to 64, whereas earlier in the last decade they exhibited the highest rate of smoking of any age group.

Apart from the positive public health implications this might have, this is great news on a personal level. Several of us at Via Meadia have lost beloved relatives to smoking-related diseases, and have been deprived of years of their friendship and wise counsel. May the downward trend continue!

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  • Corlyss

    “Several of us at Via Meadia have lost beloved relatives to smoking-related diseases, and have been deprived of years of their friendship and wise counsel.”

    I’ve never forgotten Andy Rooney’s poignant eulogy of Harry Reasoner, his longtime friend, colleage, ally, and confidant, when Reasoner died. Rooney was extremely critical of Reasoner’s smoking, which he continued even after apparently losing one lung to cancer.

    “We loved him, and he was careless of our love.”

  • MichaelM

    Young people have turned to other things than tobacco, at least in my experience. Alcohol, weed, harder drugs, other addictive activities.

    The Kids Still Aren’t Alright.

  • Richard Treitel

    This is great news in that smoking is a habit usually picked up when young and unlikely to start later, so some millions of youngsters are probably safe from it in perpetuity. The wasp in this particular jar of honey is that, when more young people have jobs that enable them to afford cigarettes, more of them will probably start smoking again.

    One idea is to give them easier access to substances less addictive than tobacco. Do I get kicked out of here for speaking the M-word?

  • Lorenz Gude

    My dad was a two pack a day Lucky Strike smoker. In my turn I became a two pack a day Camel smoker. Then my father died of smoking caused cancer and I knew I would never forgive myself if I put myself in the same predicament. It took three tries and my successful try was aided by an accidental concussion that flattened all desire for food, sex and smoking. I saw my opportunity and turned the flat disdain on the smokes. It took about five years for the occasional urge to smoke to entirely disappear.

  • silia

    Due to education, less glamorization by media, high cost and bad economy, preference for pot, or what?

  • Vincent Mohan

    Excellent news for the health of individuals and the nation. One wonders, however, what governments will tax to make up lost revenue.

  • Dubi Yarden

    Umm . . . hasn’t anyone noticed other polls showing the exactly offsetting increase in the percentage of young people using smokeless tobacco products, a.k.a. snuff? Badly constructed polls lead to bad policy results.

  • Sam L.

    Howzabout we just ban it, prohibit growing tobacco altogether, and see what happens. Contraband tobacco will be grown indoors like pot. Tobacco taxes–gone! Wailings and lamentations begin over tax loss.

    I remember the ’70s and being smoked out of parties. Doesn’t happen now.

  • Raymond R

    One thing that I have noticed over the past few years is this: when I was a teenager,it was the “cool” kids who smoked. Now, when I look at which kids are smoking, they are clearly “losers” and outcasts.

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    If you don’t have a job you can’t pay for an expensive smoking habit. At an average $5 a pack, a 1 pack a day smoker will spend $150 a month and $1,825 per year. For someone earning minimum wage of about $15k per year, a smoking habit costs over 10% of their income. And with double digit unemployment among the young, they just can’t afford to smoke.

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