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This article was peer-reviewed. It was published in The Internet Journal of Family Practice, volume 2 number 1, 2001. The published version is available at Copyright is retained by Internet Scientific Publications.


Objective: To identify at-risk teen populations and their sources of cigarettes, in order to help target future efforts in prevention of teen smoking. Methods: Analysis of smoking behavior questions for students in grades 6, 7, 9 and 12 from the 1997 Pennsylvania Biennial Youth Risk Survey. Results: Current smoking prevalence was 20.9% overall. The number of ninth grade smokers was almost five times higher than the number of sixth grade smokers (30.6% vs. 6.6%). Seventy-three percent of the teens identified friends as a source of tobacco. Stores became the most common source for twelfth graders only. Conclusion: Teenage smoking remains a serious public health concern and easy access to tobacco persists, despite recent legislation. The significant increase in smoking between 6th and 9th graders and the high social availability of cigarettes demonstrate the need for continued attempts to limit teen's access to tobacco and emphasis on prevention efforts in younger adolescents.