Study shows teens are smoking, drinking less -

Study shows teens are smoking, drinking less

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Cigarette (Credit: KMOV) Cigarette (Credit: KMOV)

Teenagers are drinking and smoking less than ever before, according to a study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The 'Monitoring the Future Survey' found teenagers are also doing fewer drugs.

Drinking and smoking are topics talked about daily in the health classroom at Belleville West High School.

“We show them long-term effects,” said Kelly Baltz, a health teacher at Belleville West. “So I think that prohibits them from wanting to do it or hopefully they see what really can happen to them in real life and hopefully it has helped with decreasing tobacco use and drinking.”          

The findings show in 1991, nearly 11 percent of high school seniors smoked a half pack of cigarettes or more a day. Today, less than 2 percent smoke that much.

More than a third of 12th graders said they have been drunk at least once. That's down from a high of more than 53 percent in 2001, according to the study.   

At Belleville West, Baltz attributes the decline to them presenting real life scenarios to students.

For example, Baltz said students witness a mock crash scene of where drinking was a factor and the driver was killed.

“I show a lot of bad crash scenes and a lot of fatal crashes and it really discourage them when I tell them that alcohol played a key role in this driver crashes and ending up dying and it really deter them from ever wanting to drink and drive and that’s our main goal,” said Trooper Calvin Dye Junior with Illinois State Police.  

Researchers aren't for sure the reason for the decline, but they speculate social media and video games may have helped. They said it keeps teens busy at home and away from peer pressure to drink, smoke or use drugs. 

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