Today’s Teens Are So Over Booze And Cigarettes

By May Wilkerson 12/18/15

Why are today's teens not following in their predecessor's footsteps?

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teen refusing wine.jpg
I said no, Mom. Shutterstock

Today’s American teenagers’ may not be following in the smokey, booze-soaked footsteps of the millennials and Gen-Y’ers to come before them. According to a new study, teens are smoking and drinking less and doing fewer illegal drugs than they have been for decades.

Researchers from the University of Michigan examined survey data on 45,000 students in eighth, 10th and 12th grades from across the country. According to the results of the Monitoring the Future survey, published yesterday, 40% of teens said they had consumed alcohol in 2015, including 22% in the 30 days prior to being questioned. This was the lowest rate since the national survey began in 1975. Rates of recent binge drinking had also decreased dramatically to 11% from a high of 22% in 1997.

"We are very encouraged by the continued decline in underage drinking illustrated in these data," said George F. Koob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). "However, the percent of underage individuals drinking still remains unacceptably high."

Smoking among young people has also continued to decline steadily over the past decade, reaching a historic low. Now, more teens admitted to smoking pot daily (6%) compared to those who smoke cigarettes daily (5.5%). Daily pot smoking has remained at this rate for the past five years, even with more states legalizing the drug for medicinal and recreational use. But overall use of prescription and other illegal drugs, including opioids, ecstasy, amphetamines, and synthetic pot had decreased.

Maybe teens are too busy checking Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube to drink, pop pills or light up?

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.