Percentage of Virginia High School Smokers Decline

Richmond, VA - The{}Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth{}and the{}Virginia Department of Health{}announced Friday that youth smoking rates in Virginia have dropped to an all-time low.The percentage of Virginia high school students 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, jointly conducted by VFHY and VDH. Nationally, an estimated 15.7 percent of high school students are regular cigarette smokers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's latest National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which was released Thursday."We are proud of the progress we've made at reducing smoking among Virginia high school students {}... 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,"{}VFHY Executive Director Marty H. Kilgore said.According to State Health Commissioner Marissa J. Levine, MD, MPA, FAAFP, "The Virginia Department of Health and its partners actively reach out to youth across the state with programs designed to empower them to choose breathing clean air over tobacco smoke. The results are youth who will grow up living healthier lives, doing the things they enjoy and making a difference in their families and communities without the risks of chronic disease and cancer brought about by tobacco use."More than 15,100 middle school and high school students were surveyed at 245 public schools statewide in fall 2013 for this health study.