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NIDA. (2017, July 24). The United, Healthy States of America. Retrieved from

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The NIDA Blog Team
July 24 2017

UPDATE: Teens reported a dramatic increase in vaping in just a single year, according to the 2018 Monitoring the Future survey. Read more.

Here at the Drugs & Health Blog, we usually discuss what can happen to your body if you use drugs. It’s important to know those facts, so you can make informed choices about your health.

Let’s focus now on some good news. When it comes to drug use, more American teens are making healthy choices.  

  • Americans—including teens—smoke fewer cigarettes compared to smokers in other countries.
    • The number of cigarette smokers in the U.S. has dropped by half in the past 50 years, with help from a 1961 ban on radio and TV cigarette ads.
    • Among 13- to 15-year-olds in 61 countries, about 11 out of every 100 smoke. In a similar age group in the U.S., less than 2 out of every 100 smoke.
    • Twenty years ago, 18 out of 100 U.S. tenth graders smoked. So a lot more teens now understand that smoking is bad for your health.
  • Fewer teens are using cocaine. Among high school students, cocaine use has been cut almost in half since 2006.
  • Prescription opioid misuse among American teens has declined over the past 8 years, thanks in part to tougher standards for prescribing opioids to relieve pain. Teens are also getting the message that misusing these medications is extremely dangerous.
  • Early childhood education programs (like preschool) are helping children grow into young adults who make wise choices about their health. One well-known study found that children who attended preschool were less likely to use marijuana when they became teens than those who didn’t go to preschool. Why? Scientists think that when children learn to deal with challenging situations in a healthy way, they may be less likely to use drugs to cope with problems as teens and young adults.

Is there room for improvement? Sure! But a lot of the news is good. To all the teens who are part of these healthy trends, we say: way to go!