Today, as in every other dayof the year, more than 3000 U.S. adolescents will smoke their first cigaretteon their way to becoming regular smokers as adults. During their lifetime, itcan be expected that of these 3000 about 23 will be murdered, 30 will die intraffic accidents, and nearly 750 will be killed by a smoking-related disease.The number of deaths attributed to cigarette smoking outweighs all otherfactors, whether voluntary or involuntary, as a cause of death.
Since the late 1970s, whendaily smoking among high school seniors reached 30 percent, smoking rates amongyouth have declined. While the decline is impressive, several important issuesmust be raised.
First, in the past several years,smoking rates among youth have declined very little. Second, in the late 1970s,smoking among male high school seniors exceeded that among female by nearly 10 percent.The statistic is reversing. Third ,several recent studies have indicate highschool dropouts have excessively high smoking rates, as much as 75 percent .
Finally, though significantdeclines in adolescent smoking have occurred in the past decade, no definitereasons for the decline exist. Within this context, the National Cancer Institute(NCI) began its current effort to determine the most effective measures toreduce smoking levels among youth.