The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has revealed that the rates of smoking among US teens appears to have hit a plateau and is no longer declining steadily as it was during 1997 to 2003.
In its bi-annual survey on youth health, the CDC said smoking in high-school students (14-18 year-olds) dropped by 45 percent in 10 years, from 36.4 percent in 1997 to 20 percent in 2007, the lowest rate since record-keeping began in 1991.
However, the center found that after increasing from 21.9 to 23 percent between 2003 and 2005 and dropping back to 20 percent in 2007, the smoking rate among teenagers appears unchanged, raising concerns that anti-smoking campaigns are not working.
To resume the downward curve, the CDC recommends that tobacco-control programs be "revitalized."
According to MedicalNewsToday.com, the stagnating teenage smoking trend coincides with the tobacco industry's aggressive policy of lower prices and more advertising to offset the effects of higher taxes and anti-tobacco campaigns.
Yearly advertising by tobacco companies almost doubled from 6.9 billion in 1998 to 13.4 billion in 2005, while state funding for anti-tobacco campaigns droped 28 percent from 2002-2005.
More than 45 million adults smoke and some 438,000 people die each year from tobacco-related disease in the United States.