Smoking Among Alaskan Teens On The Decline

The state’s health commissioner and chief medical officer today announced that smoking among high school students in Alaska has declined.


Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Vern Hurlbur had these remarks.

Dr. Hurlbur: “40 percent fewer high school students in Alaska are smoking at least one cigarette a day in the past 30 days, that was the definition of smoking, one cigarette or more in the past 30 days. Compared to 2007 which was 17.8 percent, this year 10.6 percent, a 40 percent reduction”.


Dr. Hurlbur expressed his excitement seeing this decline.

Dr. Hurlbur: “These are great numbers, wonderful news and while its encouraging to see these numbers moving in the right direction and moving this far, we also know that there remains much work to be done. Tobacco companies continue to aggressively target young Alaskan’s and we need to remain vigilant to combat that message”.



The department randomly selected 1,247 students from 43 high schools to survey and represent all traditional public high schools in Alaska (excluding boarding schools, alternative schools, and correctional facilities).


The statewide decline in youth smoking is matched with other significant declines in tobacco use so a significant decline means the decrease is unlikely to be due to chance.



Percentage of Alaska Youth Who Reported 2007 2013
Ever trying a cigarette 52.7% 35.7%
Smoking before age 13 16.1% 9.4%
Smoking 20 of the last 30 days 7.4% 3.9%
Ever smoking daily 13.8% 7.2%
Being exposed to secondhand smoke in the past week 46.1% 31.1% 
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