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YRBS High School Results: Grades 9 - 12
Epidemiology

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Section 2: Tobacco Use


Background

Tobacco is the leading preventable cause of premature mortality in the United States. The majority of Alaska smokers (83.7%), began smoking between the ages of 10 and 20 years2. Because of the addictive properties of nicotine, smokers find it difficult to quit. Therefore, many efforts to decrease smoking in our society have been directed towards youth to decrease access to tobacco products and to discourage youth from starting to smoke3.


Cigarette Smoking

Alaska high school students are somewhat more likely to be current smokers and frequent smokers, than are U.S. students. Smoking rates are similar for boys and girls.

Cigarette Use Among Alaska and U.S. High School Students


    a) Ever tried cigarette smoking.
    b) Smoked on at least one of the 30 days prior to the survey.
    c) Smoked on at least 20 of the 30 days prior to the survey.

Cigarette Smoking

Alaska students who are older and in higher grades, are more likely to be frequent smokers (smoking 20 or more days of the previous 30 days). Almost 20% of ninth graders are frequent smokers.

Smoked Cigarettes on 20 (or more) of the 30 Days Prior to the Survey



Where are Students Getting Cigarettes?

During the 30 days prior to the survey, most Alaska high school students obtained cigarettes in the following ways: borrowed from someone else, someone else bought the cigarettes, or the student purchased his/her own cigarettes. Few use vending machines.

Usual Source of Cigarettes in Past 30 Days*


    * Among Students who Smoked Cigarettes in Past 30 Days

Where are Students Getting Cigarettes?

Of Alaska students who smoked in the past 30 days, those aged 18 and older are far more likely to buy their own cigarettes in stores, whereas younger students are more likely to borrow cigarettes. Even so, almost 12% of students aged 15 or less bought cigarettes in a store.

Source of Cigarettes*


    * Among Students who Smoked Cigarettes in Past 30 Days

Chewing Tobacco and Snuff

Boys are more likely than girls to report having used chewing tobacco or snuff in the 30 days prior to the survey. Alaska girls are more likely to use smokeless tobacco than are U.S. girls.

Chewing Tobacco or Snuff in the 30 Days Prior to the Survey



Chewing Tobacco and Snuff

Smokeless tobacco use increases with grade level, so that 29.1% of high school senior boys have used smokeless tobacco products within the past 30 days. The data suggest that Alaska boys are more likely to be current users of smokeless tobacco than are U.S. boys.

Boys Who Used Chewing Tobacco or Snuff in the 30 Days Prior to the Survey



Chewing Tobacco and Snuff

Almost 30% of high school boys aged 18 and older have used chewing tobacco or snuff at least once during the past 30 days.

Current and Frequent Use of Chewing Tobacco or Snuff Among Boys


                  a) Used at least once in the 30 days prior to the survey.
                  b) Used on 20 or more of the 30 days prior to the survey.

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