Tobacco Alcohol and Youth - Gender, Racial, And Ethnic Differences
grade school eighth education
Results from the Monitoring the Future 2003 survey offer other insights into teenage use of alcohol and tobacco. In general, the older the students, the more likely they are to consume alcohol and tobacco. Just under half (47.5%) of high school seniors had consumed alcohol in the previous month, while 35.4% of tenth graders and 19.7% of eighth graders had done so in 2003. (See Table 6.3.) About one-quarter (24.4%) of seniors used cigarettes, while 16.7% of tenth graders and 10.2% of eighth graders did so. These rates were all down from 1999 levels.
In general, males in the tenth and twelfth grades were more likely to use alcohol and tobacco than females, while females in the eighth grade were more likely to use these products than males. Smokeless tobacco (chewing tobacco) appears overwhelmingly to be a product for young men: 12.5% of male seniors were current users, while just 1% of their female counterparts were. This is not the case with cigarettes. Tenth grade girls had slightly higher prevalence rates than tenth grade boys (17% for girls compared with 16.2% for boys), and eighth grade girls had higher prevalence rates than eighth grade boys (10.6% for girls compared with 9.6% for boys). Likewise, eighth grade girls were slightly more likely to have used alcohol than eighth grade boys (19.8% for girls and 19.4% for boys), though this appeared to change with age: the same percentage of tenth grade males and females used alcohol, while senior girls were nearly 8% less likely than senior boys to have used alcohol in the past thirty days.
Smoking and drinking rates were lower in the Western regions of the United States and higher in the Northeast, North Central, and Southern regions. (See Table 6.3.) Smoking and drinking rates were also higher in more rural regions called non-MSAs (metropolitan statistical area, an area with at least one county of a population of ten thousand or more people).
Table 6.3 also shows that the educational back-ground of parents plays some role in a young person's decisions about alcohol and tobacco. In general, alcohol and tobacco use decreased among students as parental education increased. Of eighth graders whose parents had graduated from or completed most of high school, 14.8% had used cigarettes in the previous month. For those whose parents had college or advanced degrees, the prevalence rates dropped dramatically: 6.7% and 6%, respectively. For high school seniors, curiously, the alcohol rate seemed to climb with parents' higher education. High school seniors with highly educated parents reported a higher prevalence rate (49.3%) than those whose parents had the least education (43.6%). They were also more likely to have been drunk in the previous month (33.4% for those whose parents had achieved a high level of education compared with 25.6% for those with only a grade school education).
In 2002-2003 white students in the twelfth grade had the highest prevalence rates for alcohol and tobacco in every category. (See Table 6.4.) Among eighth graders, however, Hispanics reported the highest prevalence rates in most categories. African-American students typically reported the lowest rates of alcohol and tobacco use.
|Alcohol||Been drunkb||Cigarettes||Smokeless tobaccoa,c|
|None or under 4 yrs.||35.3||46.6||55.4||17.0||27.4||37.6||27.8||33.0||36.2||12.8||13.0||12.8|
|Complete 4 yrs.||18.1||33.6||45.2||5.7||16.9||28.7||8.3||14.0||20.8||3.3||4.1||4.8|
|aFor 12th grade only: Data based on one of six forms; population is one-sixth of population indicated.|
|b12th grade only: Data based on two of six forms; population is two-sixth of population indicated.|
|c8th and 10th grades only: Data based on two of four forms; population is one-half of population indicated.|
|dMSA=Metropolitan statistical area.|
|eParental education is an average score of mother's education and father's education reported on the following scale: (1) completed grade school or less, (2) some high school, (3) completed high school, (4) some college, (5) completed college, (6) graduate or professional school after college. Missing data was allowed on one of the two variables.|