Pubdate: Thu, 30 Aug 2001
Source: Journal Gazette (IN)
Copyright: 2001 Journal Gazette
Author: Associated Press


BLOOMINGTON - The number of children and teens lighting up cigarettes
in Indiana has declined in the past five years.

A statewide survey indicated that almost 13 percent of students in
grades six through 12 now smoke daily, compared with almost 19 percent
in 1996.

"We have five solid years with a downward trend in tobacco use," said
William Bailey, executive director of the Indiana Prevention Resource
Center at Indiana University. "It is a major improvement."

The center's 11th annual survey last spring questioned nearly 90,000
children in grades six through 12 in 292 Indiana schools.

Bailey said youthful smokers are 10 to 50 times more likely than non-
smokers to use marijuana, cocaine and other illicit drugs, so the drop
in smoking may also lead to a decrease in the use of other drugs.

The use of illicit drugs by Indiana adolescents has fallen since 1996,
the survey indicated, after increasing from 1992 to 1996.

Marijuana was the most-used illicit drug, with about 37 percent of
high school seniors smoking it at least once last year. That
percentage held steady after falling from 40 percent in 1997.

About 50 percent of the students surveyed said they drank alcohol
monthly, a figure that was essentially unchanged.

Bailey attributed the decline in tobacco and drug use over the past
four years to new statewide prevention initiatives, including more
than 500 new after-school prevention programs and a new federal mass
media campaign aimed at reducing youthful drug use.

Drug use by Hoosier children and adolescents declined most
dramatically, the survey indicated, over the past four years among
grades seven, eight and nine - the grades targeted by the state's
after-school prevention initiative begun in 1997.

Kelly Alley, managing director of Smokefree Indiana, said a major
factor in whether children begin smoking is whether a family member

Alley said the best way for continued declines in youth smoking would
be for more of the 27 percent of Hoosier adults who smoke to kick the
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake