In the Cigarette and Alcohol Use at Historic Low Among Teens article, NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow reports that the annual survey of 8th, 10th, and 12th-graders is showing very low rates of smoking among teenagers when compared with the prior years. She says that cigarette use among teens is at its lowest since the survey started in 1975. She believes this is an illustration of how prevention campaigns can have a big impact in decreasing a serious public health problem. Dr. Volkow explained that reducing smoking among teens is important because research shows that smoking as a teen significantly increases the risk of becoming addicted to nicotine, and the exposure to nicotine may prime the brain to be more sensitive to the rewarding effects of other drugs. So when decreasing the number of kids exposed to nicotine it's a win-win because we are going to prevent the adverse medical effects, AND we may be doing a prevention against substance abuse later on in life. Daily drinking has decreased by 50%, and binge drinking has decreased by 30% from 1996. Again, extremely important because drinking accounts for one of the main causes of morbidity and mortality among teenagers because of the association with accidents and death while driving under the effects of alcohol.
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