- Associated Press - Friday, June 13, 2014

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - State health officials say youth smoking rates in Virginia have plummeted to an all-time low.

The Virginia Department of Health says the percentage of high school students in Virginia who are regular smokers has declined from nearly 29 percent in 2001 to 11 percent during the 2013-14 school year.

Federal numbers released this week estimate that less than 16 percent of high school students nationwide are regular cigarette smokers.

More than 15,100 middle school and high school students were surveyed at 245 public schools statewide in fall 2013 for the biennial health study but Virginia officials.

The survey was done in conjunction with the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth. The foundation leads statewide efforts to prevent and reduce youth tobacco use and childhood obesity.

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