American teenagers are smoking cigarettes less–a dramatic drop of up to 64% in recent years, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The recently-released report found that just over 7% of teens smoked cigarettes or cigars in 2013 compared with about 20% in 1997. However the researchers also found that pot use among adolescents more than doubled from 4% to 10% in that same period. What’s more, among teens smoking cigarettes and cigars, marijuana use increased from 51% to 62%. Why has marijuana use increased among teens nationally? Dr. Tim McAfee, director of the CDC Office on Smoking and Health, in an article on HealthDay, said he believes there’s been a change in public perception of marijuana, and that it’s increasingly viewed as a harmless drug. It’s worth noting recreational marijuana is now legal in four states, while medical marijuana use is legal in more than two dozen. This trend may contribute to the perception among some teens that it’s a safe drug for them to use. Adolescent Cigarette & Marijuana Use in Lancaster County In Lancaster County, we’ve also seen a drop in cigarette use, according to the 2013 PA Youth Survey. Nearly 17% of the county’s high school seniors in 2009 reported they’d smoked a cigarette in the previous 30 days; by 2013, that rate had dropped to 13%. The rate of marijuana use remained virtually steady over that same time period with about 17% of Lancaster County 12th graders reporting they’d done so within the previous 30 days. Marijuana Education, Prevention, & Treatment Compass Mark offers a range of programs to teach youth the life skills that will help them resist substance abuse. Here are just a few of our life skill programs: Future Generations: After-school education & service-learning program for middle school students Student Skills for Life: Prevention & intervention education program for high school & college students Lions Quest Program: K-12 life skills program to connect kids with their families, schools, communities, & peers If you’re not sure which program would best help a child in your life, contact Carol Kuntz at (717) 299-2831 ext. 232 for a free assessment. Image courtesy of Idea go/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.