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YOUTH SMOKING DECLINES SINCE 1986, SURVEY FINDS

Youth smoking has declined significantly since 1996 in Erie County, according to a survey of ninth-grade students released Tuesday by the Buffalo Area Tobacco Control Programs.

Smoking rates decreased by 59 percent in that period, and large decreases were observed for both males and females, as well as for every racial and ethnic group.

The declines translate into about 8,500 fewer youth smokers in the county, according to the survey results.

"These declines have occurred during a period when cigarette prices have increased by 60 percent and New York has passed a comprehensive clean indoor air ordinance that prohibits smoking in virtually all indoor public places," said Andrew Hyland, a researcher at Roswell Park Cancer Institute who conducted the study.