Smoking Rates Decline Among Alaska Teenagers


The latest study made in Alaska showed that in state smoking rate among teenagers has dropped significantly in the last 6 years. However, still more work to be done. Generally, smoking rates among teens have dropped by 40%, but Alaska Native teens smoke rate is twice higher than rate of non-Native teens.

Lincoln Bean, the vice chair of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, said that he is tired to see how people suffer from negative effects of smoking. His life has been affected by smoking and the health issues that often accompany it.He encourages native leaders of Alaska to take the lead on continuing to prevent young people from smoking. Bean says that smoking tobacco is not a part of traditional culture in Alaska.

Almost 20% of Alaska Native teenagers said they smoked cigarettes during the last month. It is down from more than 30% in 2007. These are great numbers showing success in fighting with smoking among teens.

Dr. Ward Hurlburt, who is the Chief Medical Officer in Alaska, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention places Alaska on top among states for its efforts to reduce tobacco use among youth.

Hurlburt said that though it is great to see these numbers moving in the right direction and having moved this far, however, there remains much work to be done.

In the 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey participated over 1,200 randomly-selected students from 43 of Alaska’s public high schools. Among all students, use of smokeless tobacco was not reduced. The survey, however, showed a drop in alcohol and marijuana consumption among all students.

22.5% of high school students said they had used alcohol within the past month, compared with 39.7% in 2007. As to marijuana, 19.7% reported using the drug within the past month in this year’s survey, in comparison with 23.9% in 2003.

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