Fewer Chicago teens are smoking cigarettes, according to data from a newly released survey.
Last year, just 6 percent of high school students reported smoking cigarettes – a nearly 60-percent drop from 2011 when 13.6 percent of teens reported smoking. Typically conducted every two years by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System last year polled 1,883 Chicago public high school students on a range of behaviors, including tobacco use. The poll was first conducted in 1991.
“Chicago has become a national leader in the fight against tobacco and as these numbers prove, that fight is paying off,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. “From raising the age to purchase tobacco to regulating e-cigarettes, we are creating Chicago’s first tobacco-free generation.”
Late last fall, the city announced a drop in smoking rates among young adults after raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products in Chicago to 21, a rule which took effect on July 1, 2016. The city’s December 2016 survey found that 9.7 percent of 18- to 20-year-olds reported smoking. In 2015, that figure was 15.2 percent.