Dispatch: Teenage Smoking Decline Falls Short Of 2010 Goal

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Duff Wilson of the New York Times presents new CDC data indicating that the teenage smoking rate has not declined fast enough, failing to reach the goal of 16 percent by 2010. Currently, high school students make up approximately 20 percent of smokers.

“This is still generally good news,” says ACSH’s Dr. Elizabeth Whelan. “Nineteen-plus percent is still an improvement over the smoking rates observed some 13 years ago. But the lack of more progress clearly means that we should not be complacent — one-fifth of high-schoolers smoking is simply unacceptable in the long-term.”

ACSH's Jeff Stier, however, is disappointed that the numbers aren't better. "But given that Congress, so called anti-smoking groups and the FDA have a distorted approach, it is no surprise they've fallen short of the goal. The biggest regulatory action Congress and FDA can claim in the effort to reduce teen smoking is the ban on candy-flavored cigarettes. But I've never met a teen who smoked strawberry or chocolate cigarettes, so it is no wonder their regulatory approach isn't doing much good."

In an interesting angle, Wilson's article points out the irony that Michelle Obama’s campaign against childhood obesity may be diverting attention and money away from anti-smoking efforts even as her husband struggles to quit smoking.

“Perhaps the FDA should take some of those e-cigarettes they want to confiscate and share them with the president,” said Stier.