Skip directly to searchSkip directly to the site navigationSkip directly to the page's main content

Health Indicator Report of Tobacco Use - Youth Smoking Prevalence

Nicotine exposure in any form among youth and young adults can disrupt growth of brain circuits that control attention, learning, and susceptibility to addiction to other drugs (e.g., cocaine and methamphetamine.) Effects of nicotine exposure on youth brain development can be long-lasting, and can include lower impulse control and mood disorders. Young people who smoke are also in danger of nicotine addiction, reduced lung growth and function, and early cardiovascular disease. Shortness of breath and lower stamina due to smoking can affect athletic performance in youth and teens. Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Smoking is initiated and established primarily during adolescence, with more than 80% of adult smokers first smoking before age 18. One in six adults and one in nine youth smoke in New Mexico. About half of all lifetime smokers will die early because of their tobacco use. In New Mexico, about 2,800 people die from tobacco use annually and another 84,000 are living with tobacco-related diseases. Annual smoking-related medical costs in New Mexico total $844 million.
The prevalence of current cigarette smoking among New Mexico and U.S. high school youth has decreased dramatically in the past decade, New Mexico's youth cigarette smoking rate in 2017 (10.6%) is at an all-time low, and it is statistically similar to that in the U.S. (8.8%). Both the New Mexico and U.S. youth cigarette smoking prevalence have met and surpassed the Healthy People 2020 goal of 16.0%.


US data source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2007-2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Available at:

Data Sources

  • New Mexico Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey, New Mexico Department of Health and Public Education Department.
  • U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data


A current smoker is defined as a youth in grades 9-12 in a NM public high school who smoked cigarettes on one or more days in the past month.


Number of youth who reported smoking cigarettes on one or more days in the past month


All youth who participated in the YRRS
Page Content Updated On 10/23/2018, Published on 10/23/2018
The information provided above is from the New Mexico Department of Health's NM-IBIS web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: "Retrieved Fri, 23 July 2021 from New Mexico Department of Health, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site:".

Content updated: Tue, 23 Oct 2018 16:09:45 MDT