CDC: Risky Behaviors Common Among U.S. Teens

Many teens report not using condoms, vaping and using alcohol, texting while driving

teen car drive

FRIDAY, Aug. 21, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Risky behaviors remain common among U.S. teens, according to the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance report published as a supplement to the Aug. 21 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Researchers from the CDC found that many teens do not use condoms when they have sex, about one-third vape or use alcohol, and many text while driving and do not wear a seat belt. "Only approximately half of sexually active students reported any condom use at last sexual intercourse, which is concerning given the high risk for sexually transmitted diseases among this population," the CDC team said.

The survey also revealed that 32.7 percent of teens said they vaped in 2019 compared with 13.2 percent in 2017. In the new survey, 6 percent of teens said they smoked tobacco cigarettes, 5.7 percent said they smoked cigars, and 3.8 percent said they used smokeless tobacco. Nearly 30 percent of teens said they drank alcohol, and nearly 4 percent admitted to binge drinking, defined as five or more drinks at one time for a man or four or more drinks at one time for a woman. More than one in five teens said they used marijuana, 7.2 percent said they abused prescription opioids, and one in seven said they had misused a prescription opioid at least once in their lifetime.

The survey also showed that 43.1 percent of high school students said they did not always wear a seat belt when they were in the car when someone else was driving, 16.7 percent had been in a car in the 30 days prior to the survey with a driver who had been drinking, and 5.4 percent of the 60 percent who drove in that past month said they had a drink before they got behind the wheel. Nearly 40 percent of the teens said they had emailed or texted while driving in the 30 days before the survey.

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