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Fewer people see smoking as a hazard

WASHINGTON -- The perception by teenagers and young adults that heavy cigarette smoking is a high-risk activity has declined in many states, according to a U.S. study on substance abuse and mental health released yesterday.

The perceived risks of smoking one or more packs of cigarettes a day dropped between 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 in 14 states among youths aged 12 to 17, and in 31 states among those aged 18 to 25. Perceived smoking risks also dropped in nine states among those 26 and older, a statement from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration said.

"No state is free from the unique impact of mental and substance use disorders," the agency's administrator, Pamela Hyde, said. "Data like these give states the information they can use to target their prevention and treatment activities for the greatest benefit to their residents."

Results from the 2008-2009 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health offer data on the specific behavioral health issues that affect each state.

-- Reuters