In March, the U.S. Surgeon General said more needs to be done to keep young Americans from using tobacco, including new bans and increased taxes on tobacco products. It was the first comprehensive look at youth tobacco use from the surgeon general's office in nearly two decades.
That point was driven home in a separate report Thursday from another federal agency. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that a large increase in the consumption of cigars and loose tobacco products offset the decline in cigarette consumption last year.
Adult cigarette consumption fell 2.5 percent between 2010 and 2011, but consumption of other forms of smoked tobacco products increased more than 17 percent in the same period, according to the report.
Disparities in taxes and classifications for tobacco products, the report said, were part of the reason for the increase.
Almost one in five high school-aged teens smokes, according to the surgeon general's office's report.
"We know that if we can stop kids from smoking before they turn 18, the chance that they will become smokers as adults is actually very low," the report said.
"By reducing retail access, we're reducing one of the ways that kids can get introduced to tobacco and become smokers," said Susan Marsiglia Gray, who oversees the Synar Regulation program.
The program, named for late U.S. Rep. Mike Synar of Oklahoma, is a federal mandate requiring each state to document that the rate of tobacco sales to minors is no more than 20 percent.
States that don't meet the standard risk losing millions in federal funds for alcohol and other drug abuse prevention and treatment services.
In the last fiscal year, 34 states reported a retailer violation rate below 10 percent, according to the Thursday report. It was the sixth time that no state was found to be out of compliance. Nevada reported the lowest rate of 1.1 percent, and Oregon reported the highest rate at 19.3 percent.