The Big Story Blog

Do the friends of your teenager smoke?

Posted at 11:56 AM on December 6, 2011 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Health

When it comes to teens and their friends who smoke, the ten year trends are good. New Minnesota Health Departmentsurveys show that "the typical teen is likely to find that fewer of his or her friends are smoking."

Still, there are some quirks in the newest data that should give some pause. While the decade-long trend is mostly good, the number of high school teens saying their friends are smoking is up the past three years.

And the percentage of current smokers in middle school who had two of their four best friends as smokers jumped from 62 percent in 2000 to 83 percent in 2011.

Here are the Health Department survey data:


Of middle school teens, the department writes:

These very young smokers appear to have become more reliant on other smokers to form their friendship groups, even though the overall number of smokers to choose from has gone down.

About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.

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