Current cigarette smoking among 12- to 17-year-olds fell significantly from 2002 to 2010 in 41 states, according to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The report also showed that during the same period, adolescent perception of risk from cigarette smoking has remained unchanged in most states.
Adolescent cigarette use nationwide declined from 12.6 percent to 8.7 percent, but significant differences remained among states. For example, Wyoming had the nation's highest rate of 13.5 percent - more than double the rate of 5.9 percent for Utah, the state with the nation's lowest rate. The study defined current use as smoking in the past month.
The report showed that youths' perception of great risk of harm from smoking one pack per day or more rose from 63.7 percent to 65.4 percent overall. However, the rate increased in only five states; the remaining states stayed at about the same level.
The report, "State Estimates of Adolescent Cigarette Use and Perceptions of Risk of Smoking: 2009 and 2010," is based on findings from SAMHSA's National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reports for the years 2002-2003 and 2009-2010.
Other research has shown that adolescents' attitudes about the risks may affect their likelihood of smoking (i.e., the prevalence of cigarette use is lower among adolescents who perceive high risk of harm from engaging in it).