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Roswell Park Survey Finds Teen Smoking Down Significantly

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – Fewer ninth grade students in Erie County are using tobacco, alcohol and drugs, according to the latest survey by the Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

Roswell Park has been studying the behaviors of ninth grade students since 1992. During the past school year, researchers questioned more than 7,000 of them at both public and parochial schools in Erie County.

Since that first survey 13 years ago, substantial progress has been made in reducing substance abuse among teens. Lead researcher Dr. Andrew Hyland says the most striking findings of this latest survey involve smoking.

"Smoking rates among ninth graders have decreased by 59 percent over the past eight years," Hyland said. "Just 12 percent of ninth graders are current smokers.

Hyland attributes the drop in the rate of teen smoking to recent efforts by authorities to clamp down on illegal tobacco sales to minors.

Hyland said he hopes his survey will lead to a wider discussion among students, parents and teachers about substance abuse.