Based on a recent survey administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average teenager of 2013 is not sexually active, but if they are, they may not be using a condom and don’t smoke cigarettes — but they may use an e-cig, and they're most likely guilty of texting while driving.
On Thursday, the 2013 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey was released. The number of U.S. teenagers who are smoking cigarettes is at the lowest ever since the survey was first started in 1991, Reuters reported. In 1991, a total of 27.5 percent of high school students smoked cigarettes. This number rose to 36.4 percent in 1997 but has fortunately dropped to only 15.7 percent in 2013. While the news is encouraging, some health officials are worried the increasing popularity of e-cigarettes among teenagers may make it even harder to reach the eventual goal of a smoke-free America. "We're particularly concerned about e-cigarettes re-glamorizing smoking traditional cigarettes and maybe making it more complicated to enforce smoke-free laws that protect all non-smokers," said CDC Director Tom Frieden, Reuters reported. The number of e-smokers, a relatively new genre, has risen from 7.7 percent in 2011 to 8.8 percent in 2013.
In 1991, over half of American teenagers had ever had sex and 38 percent were sexually active, meaning they had sex within three months of their involvement in the survey, Blog Aids reported. Last year, only 47 percent of teenagers had ever had sex, and of those, a mere 34 percent were considered sexually active. Still, the survey revealed that in teenagers who have sex, only 59 used a condom in their last sexual act. This number is not as high as experts would like. Blog Aids explains how teenagers who have unprotected sex put themselves in danger of contracting AIDS, STDS, and creating unintended pregnancies.
The survey also revealed that 41 percent of U.S. teenagers send texts or emails on their smartphones while driving. This is an extremely dangerous activity, which was the cause of nearly a quarter of all automobile collision in the year 2011, according to Texting and Driving Safety. Still, what’s most alarming is that despite this very real danger, 77 percent of young adults are confident they “can safely text while driving,” and 55 percent of teenage drivers claim it's “easy” to do.
Another positive statistic the survey revealed is that the number of teenagers partaking in physical fights is falling, Reuters reported. In 1991, a total of 43 percent of U.S. teenagers admitted to being involved in a physical fight in three months prior to the survey. Last year, only a quarter of high school students had been in a recent physical fight.
The National Youth Risk Behavior survey serves as an accurate representation of the activities of American high school students, according to the CDC. More than 3,000 U.S. high school students were involved in last year’s survey. It is done every two years, and in 2013 a total of 42 states and 21 large urban school districts were involved in the survey’s results.