News

Teens are smoking less but texting more

Teens are smoking less but texting more

TEENS & TEXTING: The CDC says fewer teens are smoking and having sex, but texting while driving is on the rise. Photo: clipart.com

By David Beasley

ATLANTA (Reuters) – Fewer U.S. teenagers are smoking cigarettes, fighting or having sex, but texting while driving is prevalent among high school students, according to a survey released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday.

In 2013, 15.7 percent of teenagers reported smoking cigarettes, the lowest rate recorded since the National Youth Risk Behavior Survey began in 1991, the CDC said.

But more than 40 percent of students who had driven a car in the previous 30 days said they sent text messages or emails while driving. Last year’s survey was the first to collect such data on texting and emailing while driving.

“It’s encouraging that high school students are making better health choices such as not fighting, not smoking and not having sex,” CDC Director Tom Frieden said in a statement.

But, he added, “way too many young people still smoke, and other areas such as texting while driving remain a challenge.”

In the 1991 survey, 27.5 percent of high school students said they smoked cigarettes. The rate increased to 36.4 percent in 1997 before beginning a steady decline, the CDC said. In 2011, 18.1 percent of teenagers reported smoking.

The rate of students using smokeless tobacco increased from 7.7 percent in 2011 to 8.8 percent in 2013, the CDC said.

The percentage of students who reported ever having sexual intercourse dropped slightly from 47.4 percent in 2011 to 46.8 percent in 2013.

Fighting also declined, the survey showed. In 2013, 24.7 percent of students reported having been in a physical fight at least once during the prior 12 months, down from 32.8 percent in 2011.

(Reporting by David Beasley; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Eric Beech)

Recent Headlines

in National, World

Israel intensifies Gaza assault, Egyptians revise truce plan

A Palestinian firefighter reacts as he tries to put out a fire at Gaza's main power plant, which witnesses said was hit in Israeli shelling, in the central Gaza Strip July 29, 2014.

Israel knocked out Gaza's only power plant, while Egyptian mediators prepared a revised proposal for halting its war with Islamist militants in the enclave.

in Sports

Star sprinter Torrin Lawrence dies at 25

FILE - In this June 20, 2013 file photo, Torrin Lawrence reacts after his heat in the senior men's 400-meter dash at the U.S. Championships athletics meet in Des Moines, Iowa. Former University of Georgia 400-meter runner Torrin Lawrence died in a car accident early Monday, July 28, 2014 in Cordele, Ga. He was 25.

Celebrated track star Torrin Lawrence has been killed in a tragic road accident in Georgia.

in National

U.S. marshals, police wounded, fugitive dead in NYC gunfight

A New York Police Officer stands guard inside a cordoned area at the site of a shooting in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, New York on July 28, 2014.

Two U.S. marshals and a New York police detective were wounded and a fugitive wanted on sex abuse charges was killed in a shootout in Greenwich Village.

in National, World

U.S says Russia violated nuclear treaty, urges immediate talks

FOR USE AS DESIRED, YEAR END PHOTOS - FILE - President Barack Obama meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, Monday, June 17, 2013. Obama and Putin discussed the ongoing conflict in Syria during their bilateral meeting.

In another sign of deteriorating relations, the U.S. government claims that Moscow has violated the Cold War treaty.

in National, World

Civilians killed in eastern Ukraine amid fierce fighting

Armed pro-Russian separatists stand guard on the suburbs of Shakhtarsk, Donetsk region on July 28, 2014.

Intense fighting between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine kills at least 19 civilians.