There are two main sources used to quantify America’s drug problem and to monitor drug abuse trends which includes Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey and National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). For the 2010 survey, 46,482 students in 8th, 10th, and 12th grades from 396 public and private schools have participated. MTF survey is conducted by investigators at the University of Michigan. NSDUH is an annual survey on the nationwide prevalence and incidence of illicit drug, alcohol, and tobacco use, abuse, and dependence among Americans aged 12 years and older and this survey is conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

In the both of these surveys there are three primary prevalence periods for which data are reported, that is life time, past year and the past month. It is generally believed that past year and past month are the better indicators of actual use.

Following are the trends in the use of alcohol and tobacco among teens in America:

Tobacco:
According to MTF survey, teen smoking rates are at their lowest point in the history of this survey. The smoking levels have reached to peak levels among the three grades around 1996 and 1997 and after this the smoking levels fell sharply, after which the decline began to slow. The NSDUH survey found that from 2002 to 2009, the rate of past month cigarette use fell from 13.0 percent to 8.9 percent among teens of 12 to 17 year old. In 2010, among the 12th graders, prevalence rate for hookah smoking is 17 percent and use of small cigars is 23 percent.

Alcohol:
According to NSDUH survey, underage alcohol use and binge drinking has shown a gradual decline across all prevalence periods. In 2009, an estimated 30.2 million people aged 12 or older reported driving under the influence of alcohol at least once in the past year.

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