Start Younger with Tobacco Prevention Programs?

A new report, from the U.S. Surgeon General highlights the challenges in communicating the dangers of smoking to students and young adults. The publication, Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General, found that the trend of decreasing tobacco use has greatly slowed or stopped among young people. Other findings include,

  • Nearly 1/4 of high school seniors are smokers.
  • Use of several tobacco products concurrently is not uncommon among youth, almost 33 percent of high school females and over 50 percent of high school males report using multiple tobacco products in the past month.
  • Of adults who are daily smokers, 88 percent had  their first cigarette before age 18. Less than 1 percent of adults start smoking after age 25.
  • Marketing and promotions by tobacco companies lead to youth experimentation with and continuation of smoking. Cigarette marketing budgets are now 48% more than they were  in 1998.

This data illustrate the continued importance of tobacco prevention activities aimed at school-age youth, but the campaign against smoking may need to be expanded to include an even younger target audience to counteract new marketing strategies.

 

 

Citation: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2012.