Are middle and high schoolers getting the message? The Florida Department of Health released its 2005 youth tobacco survey on Thursday, and there was some good news.
The number of middle and high school students who frequently smoked dropped by 63 percent since 1998 among middle schoolers, and 51 percent among high school students.
Tallahassee high school students tell us why.
Mary Correia, 15 years old, says, "We're learning more and more about it in school. We're required to take classes about the effects, its causes, and more and more people are starting to stop because their friends don't."
But there are still a number of kids trying that first cigarette.
Devin, 16 years old, says, "I've smoked before. If they smoke, it's just to see what it's like. If they like it, they do it; if they don't, they don't.”
“You didn't like it?”
“No, I didn't like it," Devin says.
The survey shows there has been a significant decrease among middle and high school students who've tried since 1998. Twenty five percent of middle school students and 44 percent of high school students say they've tried smoking.
One parent we talked to admits to being a smoker and says she hopes her kids learn a lifesaving lesson.
Stacey Stone-Cooper shares, "It's just not a good habit to start, it's like any drug, never try it for the first time."
It’s the same message the Department of Health wants to get through to teens. The American Lung Association says smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer, and it will kill more than 160,000 people this year.
If you smoke and want to quit, Florida residents can call the Florida Quit Line at 877-822-6669, or if you're in Georgia, call the Georgia Quit Line at 877-270-7867.
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