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Teen Tobacco Facts

United States

  • Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the US. (CDC, 2007)
  • Each year smoking kills more people than AIDS, alcohol abuse, car accidents, murders, suicides, illegal drugs and fires combined. (
  • Each day in the US approximately 4,000 young people between the ages of 12 and 17 begin smoking. (CDC, 2005)
  • 23% of high school students are current cigarette smokers. (CDC, 2005)
  • 95% of all teenage smokers think they will have quit within five years, but only 25% succeeded, eight years later. (
  • 70% of teen smokers say they wish they had never started. (

4 out of 5 PeopleNorth Carolina

  • 5 in 10 NC students have used tobacco (NC Youth Tobacco Survey, 2007)
  • Approximately 27% of high school students in NC currently use tobacco (20% smoke and 9% use smokeless tobacco including spit, dip, or chew). (NC Youth Tobacco Survey, 2007)
  • More than 200,000 people under 18 alive today in NC will die prematurely due to tobacco-related illnesses. (
  • Nearly half of current smokers want to quit (NC Youth Tobacco Survey, 2007)
  • 40.5% of NC students live in homes where others smoke (NC Youth Tobacco Survey, 2007)

Orange County

  • 72% of high school students have never smoked a cigarette.
  • 9% of high school students had smoked a whole cigarette for the first time by age 13.
  • 12-14% of high school students smoked cigarettes on one or more of the past 30 days
  • 56% of high school students who smoked have tried to quit in the last 12 months.


Orange County data was taken from the 2007 Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey and 2006 Orange County Schools Communities that Care Survey. For more stats on Orange County see our 2007 Community Health Assessment.

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