Percent of youth (high school) who currently smoke cigarettes.
Story Behind the Curve
A decline in current cigarette smoking rates among youth has occurred primarily due to 1) increases in cigarette taxes; 2) attraction to vaping products; and 3) more awareness of the harms of conventional tobacco use.
Data were obtained from both the Youth Tobacco Component (2002-2017) and the Youth Behavior Component (2019-2021) of the Connecticut School Health Survey. The survey is administered in odd-numbered years. These data are current as of February 2023. New data are expected by fall of 2023. The data are typically updated biennially (in odd-numbered years).
Due to changes in methodology, including differences in survey administration and data collection procedures in recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ability to compare estimates from 2021 with those from prior YRBS/YTS waves is limited. Data from the 2023 YRBS will be necessary to better understand the behavioral trends.
Connecticut Department of Public Health; Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services;
Connecticut Department of Veterans’ Affairs; State Department of Education; Connecticut Department of
Correction; State Legislature; local public health agencies; health care providers including nurses and primary care
physicians, community health centers, and hospitals; health professional associations; health insurers;
pharmaceutical companies; American Cancer Society; American Heart and Lung Associations; other organizations
and coalitions focused on tobacco control; community service providers; philanthropic and research organizations
that address tobacco control and tobacco related diseases; faith-based organizations; and others.
Passage of higher cigarette tax rates; effective health education regarding the hazards of tobacco use and changing the social norm to one of a tobacco free lifestyle.
Advocate for insurance coverage for smoking cessation and insurance incentives for nonsmokers; higher taxes on all tobacco products; greater Tobacco Trust Fund allocations for education, prevention, and cessation on tobacco use; and legislation to prohibit smoking in cars with children
Include smoking and tobacco use in the health education curriculum for all schools, K-12
Engage stakeholders through regular communications including a tobacco newsletter and ongoing training opportunities; Encourage pediatricians to discuss smoking cessation/prevention with parents and teens
Develop and maintain statewide education efforts to extend state and federally funded media campaigns; Enlist youth as consumers to develop, test, and evaluate smoking prevention/cessation strategies, campaigns, etc.
Increase smoke-free environments on campuses, school grounds, recreational areas and state parks, etc.
Implement evidence-based, comprehensive smoking prevention and cessation programs in community and workplace settings, especially in urban areas; Offer cessation resources such as the tobacco use cessation telephone Quitline, available through 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or 1-855-DEJELO.YA for Spanish.
Work with the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services on limiting youth access to tobacco products.
Provide education on the benefits of smoke free/tobacco free policies, and offer technical assistance for those adopting voluntary policies (e.g., multi-unit housing complexes, workplaces, and school, college and university campuses).
Initiate and support policy and systems changes that would reduce access to and availability of tobacco products.
Explore and respond to emerging potential health threats such as e-cigarettes and other tobacco products.