City's Teen Smoking Rate Declines

The city's smoking rate among teenagers has dropped to its lowest level ever.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

About 8.5% of the city's teenagers now smoke - that's half as many as it was just 6 years ago and about a third the current rate nationwide.

A big reason for the decrease is the higher price of cigarettes, which is felt by teens more than adults.

A fairly graphic ad campaign also helped, as did a prolonged crackdown on tobacco retailers, which uses undercover teenagers to find out which stores are selling to minors illegally.

Mayor Bloomberg says the decline will save thousands of lives. Ironically, he says it won't save the city much money, as it earns lower taxes on tobacco sales and spends more for health care on seniors who might've otherwise died prematurely. For WNYC, I'm Arun Venugopal.

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