Wyoming Students Are Smoking Less, Texting While Driving More

Jun 16, 2014

Cigarette smoking rates among high school students have dropped significantly in recent decades—in Wyoming and the rest of the country. That’s according to the results of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey released last week. 

Young man texting behind the wheel.
Young man texting behind the wheel.
Credit Lord Jim via Flickr Creative Commons

Last year, 17 percent of Wyoming high-schoolers reported regularly smoking cigarettes. That’s slightly above the national average, but down from 40 percent in 1991, when the survey began.

And while marijuana use is on the rise nationally among high school students, it’s on the decline here in Wyoming. But Department of Education Data Analyst Donal Mattimoe says that’s one area the department will keep a closer eye on in future surveys. 

“We’re going to be tracking, not only if students are smoking marijuana—but how are they taking it?,” said Mattimoe. “Are they smoking it? Are they doing edibles and things like that? We definitely want to get on top of that with Colorado legalizing pot.”

Meanwhile, the survey shows that texting while driving is becoming a larger problem. In Wyoming, 51 percent of students reported sending texts or emails from behind the wheel in the previous 30 days. That's 10 percent higher than the national average.