Smoking cigarettes among teens hits low, texting while driving increases


POSTED: Monday, June 16, 2014 - 7:54pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 - 10:20am

If you have a teen or know a teen, you'll want to pay attention to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control.

The report took a closer look at "risky behaviors".

The CDC surveyed 13,000 high school students and gives some insight into their behavior including how they act when they're on the road.

The results are a mixed bag, but may not surprise you.

The CDC said smoking cigarettes among teenagers is the lowest it has been in over two decades, with 15% of teens smoking.

"I stayed away from those people, but you could tell who they were by the way they smelled and how they carried themselves," said El Paso teen James McCarthy

Teenagers are instead using other products like hookahs, cigars and e-cigs.

"You want to learn on your own, but then you end up kicking yourself in the butt later on because you didn't listen," said recent high school graduate Karina Rueda.

Alcohol use has dropped from 50% in 1999 to 35% today.

Also, the number of sexually active teens is down to 33%, compared to almost 40% 20 years ago.

But the bad news, among those sexually active teens, fewer are using condoms.

"Teen pregnancy is really high right now,” said El Pasoan Ashley Rivota. “I think at every high school I see a different pregnant person."

One of the new risky teen behaviors comes from when they are behind the wheel. According to the CDC 40% of teens admit to texting while driving.

"Accidents, distractions, you are not paying attention to the road, someone could easily cut you off. You aren't paying attention. You could easily hit someone," explained Rivota.

"Teens that are operating motor vehicles while texting and driving, the probability of them being in an accident is much higher," said El Paso Independent School District Chief of Police Victor Araiza.

He said he has noticed a change in teen behavior over the years, but says knowing what your kids are up to could make all the difference.

"The key to success of raising a good child and making them productive citizens is being involved in their lives," said

The report also found that 10% of teens admitted to drinking and driving and nearly 22% had been in a car with another driver who had been drinking. 

Also, 18% had carried a weapon in the last 30 days.

Other behaviors that are down: school fights and soda consumption.


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