Ever smoking - ages 15-19
Among youth aged 15-19, 20.2% reported ever having smoked a whole cigarette in 2013, a significant decrease from the 2012 rate of 24.3% 68 (Figure 7.4). This decrease is due to an unusually low proportion of females (15.0%) that had ever smoked a whole cigarette, compared to the previous year,69 as well as compared to males (25.1%).70
The percentage of students who had ever smoked a whole cigarette increased with age in most years between 1999 and 2013. This age gradient appeared to be particularly steep in the most recent years, when 18- and 19-year-olds had around triple the rate of ever smoking compared to 15-year-olds.
It appears that in addition to fewer youth starting to smoke over time, fewer youth are initiating smoking in their early teens. Rather, youth are continuing to pick up the habit throughout adolescence; in the past few years, more youth smoked their first cigarette after age 15 than earlier. In 2013, the mean age at which ever-smokers age 25 and over smoked their first cigarette was 16.2.