Number of the Day: 40 percent

July 2, 2012 | Number of The Day

Cigarette smoking among New Jersey youths has dropped dramatically since 1995, with only 40 percent of schoolkids saying they have ever tried a cigarette, according to the New Jersey Student Health Survey. That’s down from 70 percent in 1995. Only 16 percent of schoolkids said they’ve smoked in the past month, down from 36 percent in 1995 and nearly 30 percent in 2011. About 4 percent are daily smokers.

Hispanics (37 percent) and whites (30.5 percent) were much more likely to have smoked one whole cigarette in their lifetimes than black students (18.4 percent). Males were slightly more likely than females to smoke occasionally (17.2 percent vs. 14.8 percent) and virtually no girls smoke before the age of 15 (0.6 percent).

Indeed, early adoption of cigarettes is much less frequent than alcohol, and about on par with marijuana — and all three have dropped over the past 10-15 years. For kids younger than 13, only 4.6 percent said they smoked a cigarette, while 4.3 percent said they had smoked marijuana and 14.4 percent said they had tried alcohol.