The CDC reports that smoking rates among high school and middle school students has decreased over the last 15 years.  This is very good news, except that tobacco use is still very high in this age group.  From the L.A. Times:

Nearly 25% of high school males and more than 17% of high school females used some form of smoked tobacco product in 2011, according to the analysis, published Thursday in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

And these numbers don’t even reflect the number of teens who use smokeless tobacco products such as chewing tobacco, dipping tobacco, and snuff.

The sobering bottom line:

Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States.

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Over the years, tobacco companies have fairly received blame for targeting the youth audience with effective advertising.  However, I believe parents deserve even more of the blame.  Simply put, kids who start smoking are more likely to have one or both parents who smoke.  Surely parents must realize that they are the most important role models their children will ever have.  So it is encouraging that, according to the Harvard School of Public Health, children are less likely to begin smoking if their parents quit.