Pride Surveys reports cigarette smoking is increasing among students ages 11 to 18. The 2009 Survey found that 30-day prevalence of cigarette smoking by students in grades 6-12 rose from 19.4% in 2008 to 19.8% in 2009. This group is composed of kids 13-18 years of age. In broad terms, this means 20% of teen agers are smoking at some rate.
Adults are smoking at about the same rate. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports cigarette smoking increased slightly for the first time in 15 years among adults. According to the CDC, the percentage of adults who were current cigarette smokers rose from 19.8% in 2007 to 20.6% in 2008 (National Health Interview Survey).
In a country under siege with health care costs, this statistic does not bode well. Cigarette smokers face numerous smoking related diseases. Those who start when they are 13 are almost certain to develop some of these diseases. In addition, those who suffer these diseases often cannot work and go on welfare. Smoking is not a vice whose effect is limited to the participant, the smoker. The rest of us pay dearly for the habit, in money, in time caring for family members with these diseases, and the effects of cigarette smoke on the non-smoker's health, including allergies and cancers caused by second hand smoke.