Research Behind the RAAPS Questions (Question #9)

RAAPS Question #9  Smoking

The number of American youth who smoke has been decreasing over the last two decades. However, rates of cigarette smoking among older teens is still very high, often higher than adults. Every day, approximately 4,000 American youth ages 12-17 try their first cigarette, and an estimated 1,140 become daily cigarette smokers.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, as many as 20% of high school students report current cigarette use, 14% report current cigar use, and 8% report smokeless tobacco use. 17.8% of youth ages 11-21 and 25.7% of high school aged youth (15-18 years) completing the RAAPS screening tool reported tobacco use in the last 3 months.

The younger people begin smoking cigarettes, the more likely they are to become addicted to nicotine.  Among high school students who are current smokers, 50% have tried to quit smoking cigarettes in the past 12 months. Young people who try to quit suffer the same nicotine withdrawal symptoms as adults who try to quit.  Some ideas you can use to help teens quit:

  • Throw away all tobacco products and wash your clothes to get rid of the smell
  • Avoid things or situations that will make you want to smoke
  • Substitute sugar free gum, a mint, or toothpick for your cigarette or tobacco
  • Wear a loose rubber band around your wrist. When you want a cigarette or other tobacco snap the rubber band