23% of US high school students using tobacco

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EUREKA - Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, and yet, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting our youth are still using it.

A national youth tobacco survey found nearly 23 percent of high school students reported using tobacco products. That’s more than one in five students. And more than one in 20 middle school students reported using a tobacco product.

Though progress has been made in lowering cigarette use among our youth, tobacco use is still high. Here in Humboldt County, we have programs in seventh and eighth grade classes to educate about tobacco and have had success lowering Humboldt County’s rates.

The CDC’s study results come just before the Great American Smokeout Thursday, a day each year to encourage smokers to quit.

“It means that they are going to be addicted for life or they are going to have to work really hard to quit. The average smoker tries 14 times before they are successful at quitting. So you know how hard it is. So we have the great American Smokeout to celebrate the fact that people can quit. If they can quit for a day they can quit for a lifetime but it's very difficult,” Sylvia Jutila, volunteer at the American Cancer Society, said.