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Tobacco Use - Youth Frequent Smoking

Summary Indicator Report Data View Options

The prevalence of frequent cigarette smoking among New Mexico high school students has decreased from 8.5% in 2003 to 3.6% in 2013. This coincides with a decrease in the US rate of frequent smoking over the past several years. In 2013, the New Mexico prevalence of frequent smoking was not statistically different from the US rate (3.6% vs. 5.6%, respectively).

Why Is This Important?

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Cigarette smoking increases risk of several cancers and other chronic conditions. Smoking is initiated and established primarily during adolescence, with more than 80% of adult smokers first smoking before age 18.


Youth frequent smoking is defined as a youth in grades 9-12 in a NM public school who reported smoking cigarettes on at least 20 of the past 30 days YRRS tobacco questions do not distinguish between ceremonial/traditional and commercial tobacco use.

Data Sources

  • U.S. data source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data
  • New Mexico Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey, New Mexico Department of Health and Public Education Department.

How the Measure is Calculated

Numerator:Number of youth reporting frequent smoking in the past month
Denominator:Total number of youth participating in the YRRS

Evidence-based Practices

Addressing tobacco use is best done through a coordinated effort to establish tobacco-free policies and social norms, to promote and assist tobacco users to quit, and to prevent initiation of tobacco use. This comprehensive approach combines educational, clinical, regulatory, economic, and social strategies. Research has documented strong or sufficient evidence in the use of the following strategies: - Increasing the unit price of tobacco products - Restricting minors' access to tobacco products; restricting the time, place, and manner in which tobacco is marketed and sold - Strategic, culturally appropriate, and high impact health communication messages (mass media), including paid TV, radio, billboard, print, and web-based advertising at state and local levels - Ensuring that all patients seen in the health care system are screened for tobacco use, receive brief interventions to help them quit, and are offered more intensive counseling and low- or no-cost cessation medications; providing insurance coverage of tobacco use treatment; phone- and web-based cessation services are effective and can reach large numbers of tobacco users; - Passage of laws and policies in a comprehensive tobacco control effort to protect the public from secondhand exposure - Focusing tobacco prevention and cessation interventions on populations at greatest risk in an effort to reduce tobacco-related health disparities Sources: CDC. Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs - 2014 ( The Guide to Community Preventive Services: Tobacco Use - 2010 (

Other Objectives

Substance Abuse Epidemiology Report Indicator

Indicator Data Last Updated On 05/20/2021, Published on 05/28/2021
Substance Use Epidemiology, Epidemiology and Response Division, New Mexico Department of Health, 1190 S. Saint Francis Drive, Room N-1103, Santa Fe, NM, 87502. Contact Annaliese Mayette, Alcohol Epidemiologist, by telephone at (505) 476-1788 or email to