Tobacco Remains a Serious Issue Among Teens
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- New data released by the Florida Department of Health (DOH) shows that 23 percent fewer Florida high school students are current cigarette smokers compared to 2010. The results indicate a decline in overall tobacco use among youth.
"The decrease in tobacco use among our state's youth is an encouraging indication of the effectiveness of our tobacco prevention programs, yet our work is not done," said State Surgeon General Dr. John Armstrong. "We in Florida are fortunate to have a comprehensive program that provides county-level community interventions and continued education for all youth. The Department remains committed to preventing smoking in the first place as we help current smokers quit."
The 2012 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey (FYTS) shows:
- 10.1 percent of high school students reported current cigarette use, meaning they smoked a cigarette at least once during the past 30 days, a 22.6 percent decrease compared to 2010.
- 11.4 percent of high school students reported current cigar use, a 13.6 decline compared to 2010.
- 7.7 percent reported current hookah use, a 6.1 percent decrease compared to 2010.
- 5.6 percent of high school students reported current smokeless tobacco use, a 12.5 percent decrease compared to 2010.
In 2010, DOH re-launched a comprehensive media campaign that demonstrates the severe health and emotional toll of tobacco-related death and disease. Research proves that hard-hitting media campaigns are effective at promoting quit attempts and reducing youth tobacco initiation.
The Florida data comes on the heels of a national report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Aug. 3 that shows an alarming increase in the use of non-cigarette smoked tobacco products. The flavoring and lower costs of these products make them especially appealing to teens.
Youth mistakenly believe flavored tobacco, widely considered to be starter products, to be less harmful than their non-flavored counterparts. Preventing tobacco use and encouraging cessation among young people are critical in combating the tobacco epidemic because nearly nine out of 10 smokers start by age 18. The number of teens who try or habitually use tobacco increases with each increasing grade level. As students go back to school, now is a perfect time for parents talk with their teens about tobacco issues. Teens whose parents strongly disapprove of their tobacco use â€“ even if they use tobacco themselves â€“ are less likely to take up tobacco. Parental disapproval has even been found to counteract peer influence. Yet, the 2012 FYTS shows that only 50.4 percent of high school students had talked with a parent or guardian about the dangers of tobacco in the past year.
A parent's own tobacco use significantly influences their child's decision to use tobacco. One important way Floridians can help prevent tobacco use is by quitting. The Florida Department of Health's Tobacco Free Florida programs offers free and convenient quit resources. For more information, visit www.tobaccofreeflorida.com.