Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources Dr. Bill Hazel announced that Virginia’s teen smoking rates have plummeted to the lowest point in 10 years! Secretary Hazel made his remarks at the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth’s fourth annual Virginia Healthy Youth Day event, which was held at 10 a.m. on Jan. 17 at the State Capitol Bell Tower.
The percentage of high school students in Virginia who are regular smokers has declined by more than 55 percent – from 28.6 percent in 2001 to 13 percent during the 2011-12 school year, according to the results of the latest Virginia Youth Tobacco Survey. Nationally, an estimated 18.1 percent of high school students are regular cigarette smokers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
Smoking among Virginia middle school students declined by more than 70 percent during the same period, from 10.6 percent in 2001 to 3 percent during the 2011-12 school year.
“The Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth has made remarkable achievements in its efforts to keep kids from smoking in the past 10 years,” Hazel says.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell praised the milestone, saying, “The Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth should be commended for its excellent work in reducing youth smoking rates and improving public health.”
“We are thrilled that tobacco use among Virginia’s youth continues to be on the decline,” says VFHY Executive Director Marty Kilgore. “The Virginia Youth Tobacco Survey results show that tobacco prevention works, and that Virginia’s kids are choosing healthy lifestyles.”