RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- A statewide effort to reduce smoking among Virginia youths is paying off.
A report released Thursday shows that Virginia's youth smoking rates are at their lowest levels in a decade.
According to the Virginia Youth Tobacco Survey, 3 percent of middle school students smoked regularly during the 2011-2012 school year. That's down 70 percent from 2001, when the rate was 10.6 percent.
During the same period, the rate for high school students fell from 28.6 percent to 13 percent, a decline of more than 55 percent.
Gov. Bob McDonnell and Health and Human Resources Secretary Dr. Bill Hazel attributed the declining rates to efforts by the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth' to reduce youth smoking.