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Fewer American teenagers and young adults are lighting up as cigarette taxes have broken the $3-a-pack threshold in some states, making smoking too costly, according to the latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Daily smoking, the nation's leading cause of preventable illness and death, fell to 15.8 percent in 2010 among young adults ages 18 to 25, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported Thursday.

That share is down from 20.4 percent in 2004. Everyday smoking among people ages 12 to 17 dropped to about 2 percent from 3.3 percent.

Increased education and enforcement efforts targeting younger smokers, combined with substantial increases in cigarette taxes, contributed to the decline, the agency said.


The mean state excise tax on cigarettes reached $1.46 a pack last year, up from $1.34 in 2009, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New York, among five states charging $3 or more, had the highest levy at $4.35.

The federal government tacks on $1.01.