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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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Cigarette smoking down among teens

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Youth smoking rates in Virginia have plummeted to an all-time low, according to the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth (VFHY) and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) .

The percentage of high school students in Virginia who are regular smokers has declined by more than 61 percent -- from 28.6 percent in 2001 to 11.1 percent during the 2013-14 school year, according to the results of the Virginia Youth Health Survey.

Nationally, an estimated 15.7 percent of high school students are regular cigarette smokers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) latest National Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

Speaking about the decline, Secretary of Health and Human Resources Dr. Bill Hazel said, "The Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth continues to raise awareness about the lifelong health threats associated with youth smoking and to advance healthier choices. With each biennial survey, high school smoking rates have declined, and the foundation's accomplishment has grown in significance."

More than 15,100 middle school and high school students were surveyed at 245 public schools statewide in fall 2013 for this biennial health study.

"We are proud of the progress we've made at reducing smoking among Virginia high school students by more than 60 percent since 2001," said VFHY Executive Director Marty H. Kilgore. "We must, however, remain vigilant. As new children reach the age of experimentation with smoking, the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth will continue to be there for them, keeping up with their ever-changing youth culture and helping them to grow into happy, healthy adults."

Established by the Virginia General Assembly in 1999, the VFHY leads statewide efforts to prevent and reduce youth tobacco use and childhood obesity.

The VFHY directly reaches about 50,000 children each year through classroom-based prevention programs in public schools, after-school programs, community centers, daycares and other youth centers across the state.

VFHY's award-winning marketing campaign delivers prevention messages to more than 500,000 children annually through TV and radio ads and Internet content.

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