Today's Great American Smokeout Celebrates with Decreases in Adolescent Smoking in Most States
Current cigarette smoking among 12- to 17-year-olds fell significantly from 2002 to 2010 in 41 states, according to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Adolescent cigarette use nationwide declined from 12.6 percent to 8.7 percent, but significant differences remained among states. For example, Wyoming had the nation’s highest rate of 13.5 percent – more than double the rate of 5.9 percent for Utah, the state with the nation’s lowest rate. The study defined current use as smoking in the past month. The above figure shows cigarette use rates in each state in 2009-10.
Many states with moderate to high rates made substantial progress. For example, South Dakota dropped 19.8% to 10.3%. Other states where their rates dropped at least 5% include Alaska, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
A few states with higher than average rates saw no improvement including Wyoming (13.5%), New Mexico (10.2%) and Oregon (9.5%) while several other states showed only modest gains Mississippi (10.2%), Maine (9.5%) and Arizona (9.9%).
SAMHSA has several collaborative tobacco prevention efforts with states and communities, including the Synar program, a federal and state partnership aimed at ending illegal tobacco sales to minors. This program requires the 50 states, District of Columbia, and eight U.S. territories to enact and enforce state laws prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to individuals under the age of 18. Data on retail tobacco sales to youth show a decline from 40.1 percent to 8.5 percent in 15 years.
SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde said.
“Although this report shows that considerable progress has been made in lowering adolescent cigarette smoking, the sad, unacceptable fact remains that in many states about one in 10 adolescents smoked cigarettes in the past month. The report also shows that we must collectively redouble our efforts to better educate adolescents about the risks of tobacco, and continue to work with every state and community to promote effective tobacco use prevention and recovery programs.”
Tobacco use is the leading cause of premature and preventable death in the United States. Today marks the 37th annual Great American Smokeout, a day the American Cancer Society encourages Americans to quit or make a plan to quit smoking. For more information on how to successfully avoid or end tobacco use, visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services comprehensive tobacco prevention website at www.BeTobaccoFree.gov.
Sixty percent of America’s biggest cities are now smoke-free
Thirty of America’s 50 largest cities are now covered by laws that prohibit smoking in all indoor areas of private workplaces, restaurants, and bars, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By late 2000, only one of the 50 largest U.S. cities—San Jose, Calif.—was covered by such a law. As of Oct. 5, 2012, 16 of the 50 largest cities were covered by local comprehensive smoke-free laws, and 14 more were covered by state comprehensive smoke-free laws.
Today, almost half of Americans are protected by state or local laws of this kind, compared to less than three percent in 2000. Scientific studies have found that smoke-free laws reduce exposure to secondhand smoke, reduce smoking, and improve health, including reducing heart attacks. While new local comprehensive smoke-free laws continue to be adopted in a number of cities and counties, last week North Dakota voters approved the first statewide comprehensive smoke-free law adopted since 2010.
“Communities have made tremendous progress eliminating smoking from worksites and public places in 60 percent of big cities in the United States. Smoke-free laws save lives and don’t hurt business,”
said CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.
“If we can protect workers and the public in the remaining 20 largest cities, 16 million people would be better protected from cancer and heart disease caused by secondhand smoke.”
The new study found that 10 of the 20 cities without comprehensive smoke-free laws are located in the south. Additionally, 10 of the 20 cities without such laws are located in states that prohibit local smoking restrictions from being stronger than or different from state law.
“Hundreds of cities and counties have passed their own smoke-free laws, including many communities in the south,”
said Tim McAfee, M.D., M.P.H., director of CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health.
“If we continue to progress as we have since 2000, all Americans could be protected from secondhand smoke exposure in workplaces and public places by 2020.”
The 2006 Surgeon General’s Report concluded that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke causes heart disease and lung cancer in nonsmoking adults and is a known cause of sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS, respiratory problems, ear infections, and asthma attacks in infants and children. Even brief exposure to secondhand smoke can trigger acute cardiac events, such as heart attack. Cigarette use kills an estimated 443,000 Americans each year, including 46,000 by heart disease and 3,400 by lung cancer among nonsmokers from exposure to secondhand smoke.
Today, is the great American Smoke Out. For further free information about how to quit call the Centers for Disease control at 1-800-784-8669. More details about the American Lung Association’s Great American Smoke Out are available here.
by Todd Miller
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