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The percentages of youths reporting binge alcohol use and use of cigarettes and marijuana in the past month were lower among those who perceived great risk in using these substances than among those who did not perceive great risk. For example, in 2008, 5.0 percent of youths aged 12 to 17 who perceived great risk from "having five or more drinks of an alcoholic beverage once or twice a week" reported binge drinking in the past month (consumption of five or more drinks of an alcoholic beverage on a single occasion on at least 1 day in the past 30 days); by contrast, past month binge drinking was reported by 11.5 percent of youths who saw moderate, slight, or no risk from having five or more drinks of an alcoholic beverage once or twice a week. Past month marijuana use was reported by 1.5 percent of youths who saw great risk in smoking marijuana once a month compared with 9.4 percent of youths who saw moderate, slight, or no risk.
The number of persons aged 12 or older who smoked cigarettes for the first time within the past 12 months was 2.5 million in 2009, similar to the estimate in 2008 (2.4 million), but significantly higher than the estimate for 2002 (1.9 million). Most new smokers in 2009 were younger than 18 when they first smoked cigarettes (58.8 percent or 1.5 million).
Across geographic regions in 2009, underage current alcohol use rates were higher in the Northeast (31.9 percent) than in the Midwest (27.6 percent), West (25.7 percent), and South (25.6 percent).
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