Page last updated: November 27, 2012
Fewer USA youth trying alcohol and cigarettes before age 13

Fewer USA youth trying alcohol and cigarettes before age 13 The percentage of high school students who first tried alcohol or cigarettes before the age of 13 has declined considerably since 1991, with much of the decline occurring in the past decade, according to recently released data from the national Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). In 1991, 33% of high school students reported drinking more than a few sips of alcohol before age 13, compared to 29% in 2007 and 21% in 2011. The percentage reporting smoking a whole cigarette for the first time before age 13 also declined, from 24% in 1991 to 10% in 2011. Marijuana initiation before age 13, however, did not change significantly over the same period. While the decreases in early alcohol and cigarette use are encouraging, one in five students still try alcohol and one in ten try cigarettes before age 13. These findings were adapted by The center for substance abuse research (CESAR) at the University of Maryland from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1991-2011 High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data.

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