Kicking smoking in the butt has been a success for teenagers, but not without picking up another unhealthy habit. According to reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cigarette smoking among teens has hit an all-time low, but 4 in 10 teens are still texting while driving.
Already meeting the government’s Healthy People 2020 goal to get teen smoking rates below 16%, only 15.7% of high school students were puffing in 2013, compared to the 27.5% when the survey begun in 1991.
While they might be smoking less cigs, reports show that e-cigarette and other smokeless tobacco usage rate has increased.
But teens are overall are ditching unhealthy behaviors. They are also drinking less alcohol and soda, getting into less fist fights, and having less risky sex by using birth control more frequently, although condom use amongst the sexually active in this age groups is down 59%.
Although unhealthy teen habits may have slowed down, they are still being reckless on the road when it comes to phone use. 41% of teens reported driving while texting or sending emails. In this age of technology when kids are grown up with smart screens, getting teens to quit texting while driving could be harder than battling nicotine addiction.
“It’s encouraging that high school students are making better health choices such as not fighting, not smoking, and not having sex,” said Tom Frieden, CDC Director, M.D., M.P.H. “Way too many young people still smoke and other areas such as texting while driving remain a challenge. Our youth are our future. We need to invest in programs that help them make healthy choices so they live long, healthy lives.”
Teenagers are also sending more time in front of the computer, 41.3% reporting that they use a computer for more tan three hours or more each day.
13,500 surveys were handed out at public and private high schools to ninth through twelfth grade teens. The surveys were used to find out what leads to obesity, unplanned pregnancies, and injuries within this population.