Last updated: August 04. 2014 12:44PM - 96 Views

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Clearly, cigarettes and other tobacco products are unhealthy.

More adults are starting to realize this, as evidenced by the declining number of smokers across the nation.

Kentucky has always ranked poorly compared to other states in the percentage of its residents using tobacco, mainly cigarettes.

These numbers have been especially high for high school students.

In 2011, Kentucky ranked No. 1 in cigarette use among high school students, according to statistics from the mid-July U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Youth Risk Behavior Survey report.

Our state’s high school students fared much better in 2013 statistics, which ranked Kentucky sixth among surveyed states for high school cigarette use. In 2013, the survey showed 17.9 percent of Kentucky high school students reported they smoked. That’s down from 24.1 percent in 2011.

Although a problem still exists, the report shows a lot of progress has been made in getting through to these students that tobacco use is harmful. Awareness about the dangers of tobacco use has probably been a key component in lowering this number.

Kentucky should also be proud. The state set a goal through the Healthy Kentuckians 2020 program to reduce high school cigarette smoking to a 19 percent participation rate. In 2013, the national high school smoking rate was 15.7 percent.

Kentucky still has a way to go. There are still too many youths who smoke. This shouldn’t be tolerated in our schools.

While there’s work to be done, these statistics show progress has been made to combat smoking. Through awareness and programs such the 100 Percent Tobacco Free School policy, more kids are kicking the habit.

We encourage all school districts in the state to initiate smoke free campuses for the sake of our kids.

Not all high school students will kick the habit, but if more and more do, our commonwealth will reap the benefits of a healthier population.

— The Daily News, Bowling Green

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