Smoking among Chicago high school students has dropped to its lowest rate in more than a decade, according to a new study released by the city's health department.
Based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the survey shows less than 11 percent of Chicago high school students reported smoking in 2013, down from more than 13 percent in 2011. The latest numbers represent a 60 percent drop from 2001, when roughly a quarter of students reported smoking.
Across the United States, teen smoking rates are down about 50 percent from the mid-1990s, according to the CDC. However, there was no change nationally from 2011 to 2013.
CDC Director Tom Frieden said Chicago’s 50-cents-per-pack tax increase helped with the local decline, as well as several local laws aimed at making it harder for teens to buy cigarettes. Earlier this year, for example, the City Council passed an ordinance that requires e-cigarettes to be kept behind the counter in stores, presumably out of the reach of children.
But the health department study isn’t the only positive news on the Chicago’s smoking front in recent weeks.
The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index released last month showed the number of adult smokers has dwindled in the greater metropolitan area as well. In that survey, 82 percent of respondents described themselves as nonsmokers, a near 4 percentage-point jump from the previous year.