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Kentucky no longer ranked first in smoking among high school students

State ranked sixth in latest study

FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 15, 2014) — Cigarette use among Kentucky’s high school students has significantly decreased. The state, which ranked first in 2011 by the Centers for Disease Control Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System report for most high school smokers, was ranked sixth in the 2013 report.

Teen smoking in Kentucky is down.
Teen smoking in Kentucky is down.

The study shows that 17.9 percent of Kentucky high school students smoke, down from 24.1 percent in 2011. The national average is 15.7 percent.

Kentucky has already reached its goal of 19 percent, which was set by Healthy Kentuckians for 2020. The kyhealthnow goal is to reduce the number to 10 percent within the next five years.

“When I announced our ambitious goals for kyhealthnow in February of this year, smoking was one of the most obvious areas we needed to address,” Gov. Beshear said. “I am pleased to see teen smoking trending downward, but I remain committed to further reducing cigarette use among our youth.”

Reducing smoking among youth is a key component of kyhealthnow, which includes priorities for comprehensive smoke-free policies and 100 percent tobacco-free schools. According to information collected by the Department for Public Health (DPH), 33 of Kentucky’s 173 public school districts are currently 100 percent tobacco-free.