Teen smoking not so cool anymore
BATHURST - A Statistics Canada survey says smoking among young people is on the decline.
Researchers surveyed students in grades five to nine over an eight year period, and found that the number of smokers dropped by more than half.
The results came as no surprise to students at Superior Middle School in Bathurst. They say they have better things to do with their time than smoke.
"We think about our sports and we don't think it's cool," says Jason Comeau, 14. "We think our friends can do what they want but we're not going to follow them."
The survey suggests that's a national trend. Smoking is down in every province.
The survey asked young people if they had smoked cigarettes in the last 30 days and if they had smoked more than 100 cigarettes in their life.
In the first survey a decade ago, seven per cent said yes.
In the latest survey done two years ago, that number was down to just under three per cent.
The survey found that young people believe peer pressure is the top reason why kids their age start smoking.
Students, like 14-year-old Janna White agree. "People who usually do well in school and have good friends and that type of thing, they tend to do it less because they're surrounded by a good environment," she says. "People who feel uncomfortable or aren't doing as well in things they tend to smoke to take their minds off it."
Kathy Grebenc hasn't dealt with many incidents of smoking in her six years as principal of the school. She says students are active and aware of the risks.
"More and more, when smoking is banned in all public places, they're becoming more responsible about it. Now whether they do it behind closed doors, I think not. I think they're just a little more conscious of health issues than we were when we were younger."
The study found that girls are continuing to smoke more than boys, which isn't suprising to those who see it every day.
"I find girls want to fit in more than guys do," says Allison Carroll, 13. "I find guys don't really care if they want to fit in. But girls they want to fit in with a particular group and stuff."
The survey also asked students in grades seven to nine about marijuana and alcohol.
It found that 75 per cent of the students who had tried or were smoking had also tried marijuana and 92 per cent had used alcohol.