American teens smoking less, increase in use of Ecstasy slowing, drug survey finds

Wednesday, December 19th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ American teen-agers are reducing their smoking, the government's annual survey of teen drug use found. And the increasing use of the drug Ecstasy has slowed.

The report released Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services said the decline in smoking among 8th and 10th graders continued a trend that began in 1996.

In addition to the slowing in the rate of increase for Ecstasy use, the survey found that rates of heroin use were decreasing, notably among 10th and 12th graders, and a gradual decline in use of inhalants continued.

``The finding that fewer teen-agers are smoking is very encouraging as more teens are making smart choices that will help them avoid tobacco-related health threats,'' said HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson.

``Overall, drug use among America's teen-agers has remained level or declined for the fifth year in a row, and that's good news. But we must remain vigilant to the threats that heroin, Ecstasy, marijuana, alcohol and other dangerous drugs pose to our youth,'' he said in a statement.

The most notable change in the 2001 survey was a continuation of the decrease in cigarette use among 8th and 10th graders. Smoking during the past month declined from 14.6 percent to 12.2 percent among 8th graders and from 23.9 percent to 21.3 percent among 10th graders.