Current Levels of Underage Alcohol and Tobacco Use

Levels of Youth Alcohol and Tobacco Use

Below are the percentages of U.S. high school students (grades 9 to 12) who report any or current alcohol and tobacco use (as of 2013, the most recent figures available). Current use is defined as having used at least once in the past 30 days.

Current Levels of Underage Alcohol and Tobacco Use

SOURCE: 2013 High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data, Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Overall Declines in Use

Overall levels of youth smoking and alcohol use have declined between 1991 and 2013.1 For example:

  1991 2013
Ever had a drink of alcohol 82% 66%
Ever tried smoking cigarettes 70% 41%

 

E-Cigarette Use Has Increased

Use of e-cigarettes doubled (from 3.3% to 6.8%) from 2011 to 2012.2 In addition, the number of U. S. middle and high school students who had never smoked but had used e-cigarettes increased three-fold between 2011 and 2013, from 79,000 to over 263,000.3

Next Steps

  • Take the quiz to examine the ways you address alcohol and tobacco use in your family.
  • Learn about preventing youth alcohol use.

Research Sources

1. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (2013). Trends in the prevalence of alcohol use—National YRBS: 1991—2013. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (2013). Trends in the prevalence of tobacco use—National YRBS: 1991—2013. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

2. Centers for Disease Control (2013, November 15). Tobacco product use among middle and high school students — United States, 2011 and 2012. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 62(45), 893-897.

3. Centers for Disease Control (2014, August 25). More than a quarter-million youth who had never smoked a cigarette used e-cigarettes in 2013 (news release).